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News - September/October 2018

Safety concerns close new Scottish school

Safety concerns close new Scottish school

Dumfries and Galloway Council has closed a new £28m school until independent assurances can be given on the safety of the building.

The North West Community Campus, which opened in August, closed briefly within a week when a pupil was hit by a sliding door which came off its rails. Two weeks later, an interactive whiteboard came loose and struck a pupil who had to be rushed to hospital.

The contractor which built the academy, Graham, said it had immediately investigated and concluded “excessive force” had been used on the sliding smart screen. “It’s clear from this examination that the screen was subject to a very high level of excessive force, which caused it to separate from the bracket,” a spokesman said. “We have also examined the remaining 20 screens in the school and all are functioning normally, and in line with the strict tolerances and operational guidelines.”

The council issued a statement, saying: “We have reached a stage where we have lost confidence in any assurances we have been given in relation to the building. We understand and share the anger and frustration of pupils, parents and our staff. Our only concern is their safety.

“It is a disgrace that we are faced with the issue of public safety after receiving assurances on a number of occasions from the contractor Graham and the developers HUB South West, that the building had been checked and double checked.

“We are appalled by this latest incident and will not be re-opening the school until we are absolutely confident and have the independent third party assurances that every bolt, screw and fitting has been checked, double checked and is certified safe.

“An incident response team has been set up to assure the continuity of pupil education. The young people of North West Dumfries deserve much more and we are angry and disappointed at the disruption to their education.”

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