A school was closed over fears for the structural safety of external walls as Storm Caroline blew in, the Evening Express can reveal today.
Portlethen Academy was one of five Aberdeenshire schools caught up in the PPP construction controversy, and yesterday it shut amid concerns over the stability of walls in strong winds as gusts of 90mph were predicted.
Worries over safety at dozens of schools built under the private finance initiative across the country were raised after educational establishments in Edinburgh were shut temporarily last April, following the collapse of a wall at the city’s Oxgangs Primary in January 2016.
In total, nine tonnes of masonry fell at the school during a storm.
Pupils were due to return to Portlethen Academy today after assurances from the contractor over the safety of the walls.
Following further inspections yesterday, Maria Walker, director of education at Aberdeenshire Council, told staff in an e-mail: “Robertson’s Construction Eastern Ltd has confirmed that Portlethen Academy is safe for staff and pupils to return to for business as usual.
“The company has been undertaking remedial works to address the issues that could affect the structure in exceptionally high winds and the work is continuing.
“Parents should be assured that the safety of all pupils and staff is the priority of Aberdeenshire Council and that all necessary assurances have been given by the company to allow this decision to be made in complete confidence.”
A spokesman for Robertson Eastern said: “Following the upgrade of the Met Office severe weather warning to Amber, we advised Portlethen Academy to close as a precautionary measure.
“As remedial works have begun at the academy, it was decided that the best way to ensure the safety of pupils and staff was to temporarily close the school.
“We apologise for the inconvenience.”