Nicola Sturgeon made it clear again today that she intends to use the Brexit process to agitate for independence.
She was challenged on the issue by Scottish Conservative interim leader Jackson Carlaw in Holyrood at First Minister’s Questions.
The First Minister repeatedly talked up the prospects of Scotland being ripped out of the UK, and admitted she and her party have “never stopped” campaigning for separation.
Mr Carlaw demanded to know why she felt breaking up the union that matters most to Scotland would be a good idea, pointing out the UK market was worth four times more in value than the European Union.
And he urged her to start acting “in the national interest, not the nationalist one”.
Scottish Conservative interim leader Jackson Carlaw said:
“The last thing the people of Scotland want is more division and uncertainty.
“Yet the First Minister is using Brexit developments to do exactly that.
“Far from acting in the national interest, Nicola Sturgeon is only acting in the nationalist one.
“Using Brexit to agitate for independence didn’t work for the SNP immediately after the Brexit vote, and it won’t work this time.
“It’s time for Nicola Sturgeon to take the threat of another independence referendum off the table, and start governing in Scotland’s interests.”
There have been at least 143 safety incidents at Scottish schools in the last two years, according to figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives.
Freedom of Information responses from local authorities have revealed a catalogue of incidents and near misses involving walls collapsing, windows falling onto playgrounds, ceiling tiles striking teachers, loose concrete hitting pupils and football goalposts caving in.
Three of the incidents took place at Liberton High in Edinburgh, the school where 12-year-old Keane Wallis-Bennett died when a wall collapsed in 2014.
That included, in April this year, a case where a “heavy ceiling tile fell, landing close to a pupil”, with another falling and landing near a teacher.
A child was trapped under a sliding partition door after it came off its runners at a new school in Dumfries and Galloway that was forced to close after numerous safety incidents occurred in just a few weeks.
At Clermiston Primary in the Capital a “window next to a pupil fell in due to a gust of wind” last year.
And a similar incident happened at a Glasgow school in September this year when a “window (glass and frame) became detached and fell approximately five metres to the playground”.
Other incidents include a pupil being struck by a metal panel from a roof in West Lothian, and a ceiling collapse in East Ayrshire.
Scotland-wide, the true figure is likely to be even higher, with many councils failing to collect and publish the information.
The Scottish Conservatives have now renewed their call for building reports to be included in school inspections in order to keep children and staff safe and in appropriate buildings.
Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary Liz Smith said:
“Each one of these incidents represents a risky situation that children or staff have been put in while at school.
“Children and staff must be safe at school, and the fabric of the school buildings must be maintained properly.
“Including building reports in school inspections is an obvious way to ensure that school buildings are fit for purpose and prevent any more avoidable accidents.
“It is extremely fortunate that more children or staff haven’t been hurt.
“The SNP must ensure that schools are properly built and maintained; including building reports in school inspections would enable effective monitoring of school buildings and prevent further harm.”
Notes to editors:
The Following Freedom of Information request was submitted to all 32 councils: ‘The number of incidents at schools in 2017 and 2018, broken down for each year, involving either the collapse or partial collapse of a wall or structure, or a child or teacher being struck by a falling object. Information should include the date, nature of the incident and school where it took place.’
In all, 18 councils collected incidents and were able to publish the information. For full copies of the responses, contact the Scottish Conservative press office.
The full list of disclosed incidents is as follows:
Windows falling from panes:
- Accident resulting in injury. Window next to a pupil fell in due to gust of wind (Clermiston Primary School, Edinburgh, December 2017)
- A double glazing unit fell and landed on the gym floor (Glasgow, June 2018)
- Window (glass and frame) became detached and fell approximately 5 metres to the playground (Glasgow, September 2018)
Collapse of walls, roofs or doors:
- Bolt of a wall divider in a gym hall sheared and collapsed (Cauldeen Primary, Highland, February 2018).
- Ceiling collapsed in nursery (Highland, June 2017)
- A child was trapped under a sliding partition door after it came off its runners (North West Campus, Dumfries and Galloway, 23 August 2018).
- Incident resulting in property or equipment damage. Door detached from frame and fell outward into playground (Trinity Primary School, Edinburgh, June 2017)
- No injury incident (Near Miss). Leaking rain water caused the collapse of approx 6-8 ceiling tiles in a classroom. (St Catherine's RC Primary School, Edinburgh, April 2018)
- Collapsed ceiling in stairwell (Cumnock Academy, East Ayrshire, August 2017
- During a daily inspection, a wall was pushed over. (Glasgow, September 2018)
- Changing room cubicle door collapsed and hit a pupil’s foot (Douglas Ewart High, Dumfries and Galloway, 29 August 2017)
Major objects (concrete, ceiling tiles, scaffolding) falling:
- No injury incident (Near Miss) Heavy ceiling tile fell, landing very close to a pupil (Liberton High School Edinburgh, April 2018)
- No injury incident (Near Miss) Ceiling tile fell, landing just in front of teacher (Liberton High School Edinburgh, April 2018)
- Two pupils entered the lift on the ground floor and move up to the first floor. As the door opened the front metal panel of the roof fell glancing the shoulder of pupil (St Margaret's Academy, West Lothian, 2018)
- No injury incident (Near Miss). Small piece of cement stone fell from toilet ceiling and hit pupil on head. Loose large cement stone also ready to fall (Towerbank Primary School, Edinburgh, October 2017)
- No injury incident (Near Miss) A piece of compacted roof felt became loose in the high winds and was blown into the playground (Dalry Primary School, Edinburgh, September 2018).
- No injury incident (Near Miss) Ceiling tile fell and brushed pupil's cheek (Oxgangs Primary School, Edinburgh, February 2018)
- A scaffold pole leaning against a wall was blown over and struck a pupil on the arm (Greenwood High, North Ayrshire, October 2017).
- This incident involved water damage to ceiling tiles, caused by a spilt pipe, which resulted in some ceiling tiles falling – one of which struck a teacher on the shoulder. There were no injuries or lost time as a result of this incident (St Joseph’s Academy, East Ayrshire, December 2017)
- Ceiling tile fell from the suspended ceiling grid (St. Ninian’s primary School, Stirling, March 2017)
- Suspended ceiling tile fell in corridor and hit the thigh of a teaching assistant (St Francis Primary, Inverclyde, January 2017)
Fences falling over:
- Fence in P1 play areas ‘about to collapse. Two lumps of concrete are coming out the ground and staff worried they will come away and hurt someone’ (Golspie Primary, Highland, October 2017).
- Perimeter fence ‘is failing over and is liable to collapse completely’ (Bridgend Primary, Highland, September 2018).
- Partial collapse of five boundary walls (five Fife primary schools).
- Accident resulting in injury Herras fence panel blew over and hit pupil (Kirkliston Primary School, Edinburgh, September 2017).
Smaller objects (panels and light fittings) falling:
- A metal light fitting (reflector grid) fell from the ceiling light and hit pupil above his eye (Linlithgow Primary School, West Lothian, 2018).
- No injury incident (Near Miss). A small piece of plaster fell from area above the doorway and hit a teacher on the head (Liberton High School, Edinburgh, August 2018).
- Ceiling tile fell onto employee (Highland, 2017-18).
- Light fitting fell (Benarty Primary and Tulliallan Primary, Fife, February 2018, June 2018)
- Panel on back of toilet fell and hit pupil (Crieff High, Perth and Kinross, September 2017)
- Metal pelmet fell from top of a door and struck a pupil (North Ayrshire, June 2017).
- Whilst men working or walking on roof, the vibrations caused a light diffuser to strike the right shoulder of a pupil and onto the floor (Broxburn Academy, West Lothian, 2017)
- Member of staff hit by falling loft hatch. St Martin’s Primary School (East Lothian, February 2018)
- Piece of flashing fell from the roof (Glasgow, October 2017)
- Goal post fell and landed on pupil’s head at. No hospital treatment needed (Letham Primary, Perth and Kinross, April 2018)