Parents at an Aberdeenshire primary school kept their children at home yesterday amid concerns for their safety during ongoing building works.
Work is being carried out to repair the roof of Gordon Primary in Huntly.
But a group of parents have raised concerns about the stability of the building, and claimed that when their children returned to school after the holidays last week the upper stages playground was like a “building site”.
Parent council chairman Steven McKay made the decision to keep his children off yesterday, with others then following suit – with 14, in total, absent.
In a statement, Mr McKay said: “The remedial works being carried out on the roof are a concern and we have lost confidence in Aberdeenshire Council’s ability to provide a safe learning environment.”
Other parents have now written to local MP Colin Clark and Education Secretary John Swinney.
Aberdeenshire Council insisted it had taken appropriate steps to protect children and staff during the works, and met members of the parent council, along with the head teacher and contractors at the school yesterday afternoon.
A spokeswoman said: “Allan Whyte, head of property and facilities at Aberdeenshire Council, along with the head teacher, contractor, project and health and safety colleagues, met with members of the parent council to reassure and to explain – in depth – the due diligence taken with regard to pre-survey works, safe method of operations, timeline and the scheduling of works.
“Those members of the parent council who were able to attend were reassured regarding the approach being taken regarding the project to ensure the safety of children at the school.”
Now Gordon MP Mr Clark has intervened and has promised to set up a meeting between the parents and Gillian Owen, the authority’s education convener.
He said: “I met a group of parents with children at the Gordon Schools in Huntly yesterday.
“There are clearly concerns about ongoing work on the primary school site.
“I have agreed to facilitate a meeting with officers of the council and the chair of education and children’s services to discuss the issues that have been raised.”
One group of concerned parents e-mailed the Press and Journal, and claimed they had been told the roof work to repair leaks and damp would be carried out during the holidays.
They described the first day back as “chaos” as 200 pupils and parents were left waiting for the bell to ring in a small area of playground surrounded by scaffolding.
They claimed one parent had found a wooden palette, two bricks and a bit of wood with a nail in it lying on the ground.
An update from the school went out the next day, on August 22, from the head teacher to inform parents the playground was no longer to be used, with the youngsters to gather with the lower stages round the corner instead.
The letter, signed “from many concerned parents”, claimed: “Children are scared, crying, and many of them still unsure where their lines are in the morning.
“We are worried about the children’s safety – lights are apparently being cable-tied by workmen while children are in the class.”
It added: “Something needs to be done about the condition of our school for the safety of the children.
“The school is in bad condition with leaking roof and damp.
“We are worried about our children’s safety.”