Heating blunder forces 10 schools to close

New Gilston Primary School
New Gilston Primary School

FIFE schools fell victim to heating difficulties on Monday for the second time in three weeks – resulting in the temporary closure of 10 primaries and nurseries.

Largoward, New Gilston and Kingsbarns were among the casualties, with others in Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy and elsewhere in north east Fife.

This time, a foul-up with Fife Council’s centrally-controlled heating systems was blamed – a fortnight after an Easter holiday power cut had hoodwinked heating in some local schools on the first day back.

Ken Gourlay, head of asset and facilities management service, explained a number of schools had centrally-controlled heating systems which switched the heating on and off during weekends and holiday periods.

“The system is programmed every year to reflect holiday periods,” he said.

“Unfortunately, last year, there was an extra date which was not deleted from this year’s programme.

“This meant systems had to be manually overridden on Monday morning.

“All systems will be checked and measures put in place to ensure this does not happen again.”

It’s understood the extra day last year was the Royal Wedding on April 29.

Mr Gourlay said the temperature in the affected schools did not rise quickly enough for the start of the school day, meaning the buildings were too cold.

As the schools had been closed over the weekend, the temperature inside the premises would have been considerably reduced.

“We have a duty of care to our children while they are in our school buildings and we can’t have children and staff sitting in buildings which aren’t at a reasonable temperature,” he added.

“The decision to close has to be taken locally by individual headteachers, who will take into account all the factors in their particular area.”