Safety concerns have been raised at fire-hit Dundee school Braeview Academy after an assessment listed it as “high risk” of a second blaze.
A fire risk assessment conducted by Dundee City Council’s city development department in December 2019 scored the school based on its “very poor” CCTV system and dangerous use of extension cables.
The report, obtained by us using freedom of information legislation, has been labelled as “shocking” by local MSP Bill Bowman.
Education bosses were first warned of the risks in December 2017 – before part of the school was devastated by a fire in September 2018.
It is shocking that Dundee City Council failed to address basic issues, more than a year later.”
North East MSP Bill Bowman
The most recent report also warned against the excessive use of extension leads which were being used like “daisy chains” in a number of areas throughout the school.
It also condemned the use of personal appliances, such as kettles and toasters, which were either untested or inappropriately placed throughout the Berwick Drive campus.
This includes portable heaters which had out of date testing labels and were left switched on outside of school hours.
Several fire exits were either obstructed or faulty at the time of the inspection and combustible materials were mismanaged, the report found.
In the updated report, records indicate the system had not been fully serviced and tested since April 2018.
However the previous fire damaged panel has been replaced and interfaced with the new alarm system within the portakabin village.
North East MSP Bill Bowman said improvements must been seen when a new risk assessment is conducted next month.
The Conservative politician said: “Although the 2018 fire was malicious and couldn’t have been avoided, it did focus inspectors on how to make the school less of a risk when it reopened.
“So it is shocking that Dundee City Council failed to address basic issues, more than a year later.
“Safety officers rightly highlighted the risk of putting leads on a daisy chain.
“Annual appliance testing is a basic safety measure that the SNP-run council needs to get right.
“There should also be adequate arrangements for teachers, who shouldn’t run risks and bring in their own untested equipment.
“Given the issues here, the council should be reviewing all schools.”
Pupils returned to the city secondary school in December 2018 where they are taught in a village of portable cabins which were built beside the school.
A Dundee City Council spokesperson said: “Dundee City Council takes the safety of pupils and staff at its schools extremely seriously.
“The Council has worked extremely closely with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service following the fire in Braeview Academy.
“We have addressed the recommendations from the fire risk assessment and will continue to liaise with the fire service about any issues.
“There is a robust system in place for the inspection, monitoring, reporting and responding to defects that may arise within all council nurseries, primary schools and secondary school buildings.”
The school is currently part of merger proposals with Craigie High School.