Council addresses issues with new Inverness Royal Academy
The Highland Council has informed staff, parents and pupils of ongoing issues with the new Inverness Royal Academy building and the actions being taken to address them.
The Council is working with, Hub North Scotland Limited, Morrison Construction and its sub-contractors, to resolve issues which include: problems with the school’s gas installations and the impact this is having on some classes; intermittent power and ICT issues; and management of pupil flow during lunch breaks.
At the Council’s request, Gas Safe and Health & Safety Executive representatives were asked to attend the school on Tuesday 13 September to provide an independent inspection and assurance of the gas installations at the site. This precautionary step was taken by the Council with the safety of building users being the main concern. The outcome of the visit was that in Home Economics, Science, Craft, Design and Technology, the gas supply was shut off to allow further inspections of the pipework and until remedial works are concluded. The heating and hot water system within the school is unaffected.
The Council is awaiting a detailed action plan from the contractor, setting out a programme of works and timescales for resolving the issues identified with the gas installation to the affected rooms. Meantime, the contractor is implementing a contingency plan to minimise the impact on the parts of the building that are reliant upon gas for delivery of the curriculum. A range of actions are being implemented which include the temporary installation of electric ovens and hobs, the use of portable Bunsen burners, and workarounds within the Craft, Design and Technology classroom. It is expected these actions will be in place by Monday 26 September.
There have, and will continue to be short-term implications within those classrooms, until these contingency plans are fully in place. Staff within the affected departments are looking at ways to manage delivery of the curriculum to minimise any implications for learning and teaching.
Within the building, there have also been intermittent issues with power outages, and some aspects of the ICT installations within the school are still to be completed, or there are issues of reliability. These matters have been escalated with the relevant contractors, and steps are being taken to address any issues identified.
There have also been some challenges relating to managing lunch periods, and the flow of pupils through the dining space and circulation space, where congestion has been an issue. A number of changes to how and where lunches are served and eaten are being trialled, to assist with managing the flow of pupils through the building at that time of the day.
While it is very unfortunate that these issues have arisen, the Council acknowledges the commitment and hard work of teaching and support staff in delivering the curriculum in spite of the challenges they face. The health and safety of staff and pupils continues to be of the utmost priority to the Council, and arrangements are in place to address the issues identified.