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Monday, 20 August, 2001, 18:27 GMT 19:27 UK
Compensation call over school closure
Shawlands Academy
Shawlands Academy sent pupils home
Scotland's largest teaching union has called for building contractors to pay compensation to schools for not having them ready on time for the new term.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) made the call after it emerged that pupils had been sent home early at one Glasgow secondary.

But Glasgow City Council said that it would not be asking contractors for compensation as building work at the affected school had been completed on time.

The union warned about possible problems last week despite assurances from the city council that its 1.2bn scheme to upgrade secondary schools in the city would be finished on schedule.

EIS banner
The EIS wanted term time delayed in Glasgow
Seventeen of the city's 29 schools were upgraded over the summer using money partly provided by private industry.

Problems emerged at Shawlands Academy in Glasgow's south side on Monday as pupils returned for the start of the new term.

EIS Glasgow branch secretary, Willie Hart, told BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive programme that problems still remained at the school despite intensive clearing work over the weekend.

He said: "There are still at least four subject areas - drama, music, technical and physical education - which simply are not usable."

Mr Hart also said that teaching staff did not have the time to unpack educational materials and make the necessary preparations to receive children.

'Welcome decision'

He said the headteacher at Shawlands decided to send children home after inspecting the problem area with colleagues.

"We very much welcome the decision of the school management," he said.

"It was unfortunate that the decision was not taken last week.

"What's happened has meant problems for parents and carers that could have ben avoided."

All four of the areas in Shawlands Academy are being serviced and it was not part of the agreement that they should have been ready today

Glasgow Council spokeswoman
Mr Hart said the city council should have taken the decision to postpone the new term time until Wednesday.

He said the union would continue to advise its members not to teach in conditions which they deemed unsafe or unfit for educational purposes.

Mr Hart also alleged that Shawlands was not the only school to be affected by disruptions to facilities.

He told Newsdrive that teaching staff at St Roch's secondary in the east end of the city had agreed to finish early each day this week to avoid further problems with the curriculum.

Mr Hart then said a "surcharge should be put upon the contractors for not having met the terms of their contracts".

He said any compensation handed over to the council should be passed on to those teachers and pupils affected.

Strenuous denial

But a spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said the contractors would not be asked for compensation as they had completed building work on time.

She also strenuously denied Mr Hart's allegation that four areas of Shalwands Academy were not ready on time and that any amended timetable had been agreed at St Roch's.

"All four of the areas in Shawlands Academy are being serviced and it was not part of the agreement that they should have been ready today," she said.

Shawlands pupils were sent home after assembly
Refurbishment work in Glasgow schools started this summer under a controversial public-private partnership (PPP) funded programme.

The programme is part of a 1.2bn scheme to upgrade all 29 secondary schools in Glasgow by 2002.

It is the biggest rebuilding and refurbishment programme ever seen in UK education.

It will see 11 of Glasgow's secondaries totally rebuilt and the remaining upgraded and refurbished.

The city council's partner in the Project 2002 schools' modernisation programme is the 3ED consortium, comprising the Miller Group, Amey plc and Halifax plc with technology partner Mitel, supported by Hewlett Packard and Morse.

BBC Scotland's Eleanor Bradford
"The first day of term at Shawlands Academy and they didn't get further than assembly"
Willie Hart, EIS
"What's happened has meant problems for parents and carers"
See also:

28 Sep 99 | UK Politics
Conference rejects PFI
06 Oct 99 | Scotland
Education boost in Scottish 'budget'
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