Repairs to Aberdeen’s Victorian Schools Delayed Amid RAAC Crisis

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Efforts to address the deteriorating condition of Aberdeen’s Victorian schools face setbacks as the council contends with escalating costs and challenges posed by reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

In a recent development, the council has revised its schools estate programme following the discovery of RAAC in three prominent school buildings: St Machar, Northfield, and Hazlehead academies. This revelation has prompted a reassessment of priorities, with a heightened focus on ensuring the safety of students and staff.

The ripple effects of these findings have resulted in delays and, in some instances, the inability to initiate scheduled repair projects. During a recent review of the updated school estate plan by the education and children’s services committee, comments were made regarding the fluidity of the situation and the adaptability of the timeline to evolving needs and demographic shifts. The plan’s resilience and practicality were also acknowledged.

However, certain projects have borne the brunt of these delays. A crucial business case for improving Victorian schools was slated for council consideration in May but has now been deferred until February of the following year. Of utmost priority are the improvement works at Harlaw Academy and Ferryhill School, which are deemed urgent due to their deteriorating condition. Consequently, other projects risk being sidelined as attention is concentrated on these urgent cases.

A council representative emphasised the overarching priority placed on all Victorian-era schools across Aberdeen. Assurance was given that the council remains committed to addressing structural issues while managing resource allocation and staff requirements. Yet, despite ongoing efforts, a comprehensive understanding of the scope and cost of necessary works remains elusive.

Anticipated repairs to the wider Victorian school estate are unlikely to commence until the following year. Meanwhile, plans to transform St Peter’s RC School are poised for funding approval during the council’s budget allocation on March 6. Similarly, efforts to upgrade Old Aberdeen House and establish a modern educational facility are progressing, albeit with indicative timelines subject to adjustments.

The delay-plagued Tillydrone facility, initially slated for completion by summer’s end, now faces further postponement. In Northfield, the council is exploring school mergers to enhance educational provision, with proposals set for review later in the year.

However, plans for a new school serving the Newhills area have been put on hold. Despite concerns raised regarding burgeoning student numbers at Brimmond School, the council maintains that there is no immediate necessity for additional capacity. Similarly, proposals for a school within the Loirston Loch development remain dormant pending further assessment.

As the council navigates these challenges, an update on the progress of school estate works is anticipated in September.

In conclusion, Aberdeen City Council confronts multifaceted hurdles in its quest to rejuvenate its Victorian school infrastructure. While efforts persist to address immediate concerns, delays and uncertainties persist, underscoring the complexity of balancing educational needs with resource constraints. The evolving landscape necessitates continual reassessment and strategic planning to ensure the provision of safe and conducive learning environments for Aberdeen’s students.

Elliot Preece
Elliot Preece
Founder | Editor Elliot is an experienced journalist manager with a passion for writing. He played a pivotal role in building the News Write Ups website as a web developer and has since been leading the team of journalists to produce high-quality content. With his strong background in writing and web development, Elliot ensures that the website not only functions smoothly but also provides engaging and informative articles for readers.

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