Borders school to be closed temporarily after high levels of lead found in tap water

Ednam Primary School.
Ednam Primary School.

A Borders primary school is to be closed for further tests and possible repairs due to concerns about high levels of lead in water coming from four taps there.

That potential health risk was revealed by checks carried out as part of an ongoing water-testing programme across Scottish Borders Council’s property estate.

Elevated levels of lead were detected in four wash-hand basins at Ednam Primary School.

As a precautionary measure, the council is providing bottled drinking water and alternative catering arrangements for staff, including headteacher Catriona Finn, and the school’s 40 primary-age pupils and nine nursery children.

Those temporary arrangements, in place since last Thursday, January 31, will continue until the start of the next mid-term break on Thursday, February 14.

Pupils and staff will then be relocated to nearby Broomlands Primary School, in Kelso’s Ednam Road, on their return after the break on Wednesday, February 20.

That temporary measure is to allow further investigations and any repair works needed to be carried out at the Duns Road school, opened in 1911.

Information has been issued to parents and carers, including public health advice.

Council chief executive Tracey Logan said: “The action taken by the council is very much precautionary, but it was felt important to immediately act in order to reduce any potential risks to pupils and staff.

“We are currently finalising arrangements for the move to Broomlands, and we aim to ensure disruption is minimised as much as possible.

“We will also be keeping parents fully updated throughout this process.”

Council leader Shona Haslam said: “The council has taken proactive steps to ensure this matter is dealt with swiftly and will work closely with both schools to make sure the education of children at Ednam and Broomlands primaries is not adversely affected.”

Tim Patterson, joint director of public health for the council and NHS Borders, added: “While the risk to public health is low, all parents and others affected have been provided with public health information to help answer any health-related queries they have.

“If any parents or staff have any significant health concerns, they are advised to contact their GP in the usual manner.”