Crumbling concrete found in second East Lothian High School

Tuesday September 5th 2023

Ross High School Tranent

Ross High School in Tranent, East Lothian.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A second high school in East Lothian has been confirmed as being partially built using unstable concrete at the centre of a UK Government crisis.

East Lothian Council’s head of education Nicola McDowell wrote to parents on Tuesday morning to confirm the presence of RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) in the dining hall of Ross High School in Tranent.

However she has assured them it is in a ‘better condition’ than material found in other council buildings and the hall remains open for use and closely monitored.

Shortly before schools broke for their summer break the council announced the concrete had been found in Preston Lodge High School, Prestonpans, forcing the closure of 23 of its 71 classrooms.

Students are currently using Portakabins brought into the school payground as an alternative as the council looks into work required to make the full buidling safe.

It also closed parts of the Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh and Loch Centre swimming pool, in Tranent, after a survey of council buildings discovered the material in there as well. classrooms to make up for those out of action.

The lightweight concrete material which was used in construction between the 1950s and 1980s has been identified as a concern by Government because it can crack and crumble.

Last week there was anger as the UK Government announced around 150 schools and colleges had been identified in England as having been built using the material sparking closures and partial closures with a third described as having potential to collapse.

The new sparked a political row after it was claimed the Government had known about concerns for a number of years without taking action.

East Lothian Council has been surveying all its public buildings for the material for some time and in Ms McDowell’s letter to parents she confirmed no other council school buildings have been identified as being affected.

She said: “Inspection works confirmed the presence of RAAC in the construction of some, but not all, parts of Preston Lodge High School, Prestonpans.

“As a result of faults identified in a limited number of areas in which the RAAC is present, it was decided that some parts of the school building would be closed as a precautionary measure, with temporary arrangements in place to maintain learning and teaching uch as using alternative accommodation within the school’s catchment area for some lessons.

“Survey work has also established that RAAC is present in the dining hall at Ross High School, Tranent.

“I would like to re-assure you that the dining hall remains safe to use, as the RAAC material has been assessed as being in a better condition than in affected buildings elsewhere.

“The condition of the RAAC which is present at Ross High will be closely monitored to establish whether any work might be required in future.

“Survey work has confirmed that RAAC is not present in any other East Lothian Council school buildings.”

Tweet Share on Facebook  

Subscribe to the Midlothian View newsletter

Support Midlothian View from as little as £1. It only takes a minute. Thank you.

Comments are closed.