Earlston High School ceiling collapses

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THE local authority has denied that one of its three new flagship schools, opened just over three years ago, is suffering from extensive problems.

The rebuttal came after an incident at Earlston High School last week, when part of a ceiling in an art classroom collapsed.

A spokesman for Scottish Borders Council told TheSouthern this week: “On Monday, October 29, planned remedial works to the roof and ceilings within an art classroom were carried out at Earlston High School.

“As workmen were carrying out these planned repairs, part of the ceiling collapsed.

“No-one was injured and a full investigation into the incident was immediately launched.

“Work on the repairs has temporarily stopped while the investigation takes place. Pupils at the school have not been affected and were not in the room or its vicinity at the time of the incident.”

However, the spokesman also added that it would be “wrong” to say that there have been a number of serious construction problems at the secondary school, which was opened in August, 2009.

However, despite that rebuttal, the multimillion-pound state-of-the-art high school – one of three new secondaries opened in the region in the last three years – has not been trouble-free.

Just days after opening its doors to pupils for the first time in August, 2009, it found its still under-construction sports pitches and car park flooded, with reports that seeping water had also affected the games hall, whiteboards and projection equipment.

Together with the new high schools at Eyemouth and Duns, Earlston was part of a public-private partnership (PPP) project which cost £76million.

At the time of the problems just after the school was opened, the then local councillor, John Paton-Day, who has had two children of his own attend Earlston High School, was of the view that if such problems continued, the local authority would have to take the matter up with those responsible for the school’s construction and maintenance.

Speaking to TheSouthern after news of last week’s incident involving the ceiling collapse, Mr Paton-Day maintains there has been, and is, an ongoing problem with what he calls the “poor construction” of the school.

“The latest problem could have had serious consequences – the ceiling in one of the art department rooms collapsed and is now unusable,” said Mr Paton-Day.

“It doesn’t seem good value for money and surely this is putting our young people and teachers in danger. This would be bad if it was a one-off incident, but it isn’t.”