Monday, March 02, 2009

Nairn Academy closed due to Asbestos scare!

Please note 4 updates to this article now!
'The Doc hears today from Nairn Academy, that the school was closed at mid-day today , due to suspected asbestos in one classroom , there was a suspicious dusting of a white materiel over this classroom so the school was closed, tests are being carried out and parents can use the usual bad weather telephone system and moray firth radio in the morning to see if the school will re-open.'
Thanks Doc for that breaking news, the Gurn has now been contacted by another source with further information which will be on-line shortly.
The Gurn understands from a source that workers installing solar panels on the roof may have dislodged material in between the roof and the ceiling, this would explain the dust that was found by the janitors who quickly raised the alarm. Perhaps some readers will remember the Highland News article which alerted the public to the danger facing teachers from asbestos if they were to put drawing pins into the wall?
This further asks the question just how much asbestos is there in Nairn Academy? Is it a safe environment for the children, teachers and other staff full stop? With the construction of the science block and the special education unit are the Highland Council simply trying to make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear? After all what is the use of adding that onto a building containing asbestos and suffering from leaky roofs? How is the cash-strapped Highland Council going to be able to bring this building up to standard? The Gurn hears that kids are now preparing for their exams, not much fun to have this type of interference with your education is it? Remember the school had to close before Christmas 2007 with heating problems, even without this latest setback it is obvious that Nairn Academy is a school in crisis. Nairn deserves better – will all the politicians campaign for the town on this or simply indulge in another pathetic squabble?

What happens next? Would it be better to cancel the Sandown 550 house scheme and build a school fit for purpose on the publicly owned land? Remember we need a school capable of coping with the proposed expansion of the town. In the short term let’s hope the tests being carried out on the material prove negative for asbestos.
Are you a parent, a teacher, a worker or a pupil at the Academy? What do you think?
The Gurn understands the school will stay closed tomorrow but that investigations and clean-up may mean that the 'upper' part of the school will remain closed for longer.
UPDATE: A search on Google reveals that Nairn Academy seems to be well on its way to achieving international notoriety for its asbestos problem, here's a report on Mesothelioma International: 'Highland School full of asbestos'.
UPDATE: The Mesothelioma International site says, 'Local officials say that they are well aware of the problem and have begun a massive campaign to renovate buildings found to contain asbestos.'
Yet in an article of 19th Oct 2008 detailing the huge scandal of asbestos in Scottish schools the Sunday Mail claims: 'Out of 211 Highland Council schools, 126 have asbestos. But they spent only £55,500 in three years removing it.
The Gurn asks how much money has been spent so far putting the Nairn Academy asbestos problem right and can our four councillors put their hands on their hearts and say Nairn Academy is a safe environment for children?


dr-grigor said...

I was in the first in-take of first years when the new nairn Academy first opened, and how great it was to move in to at the time a very modern and shining new school for Nairn, what a shame to see it in the state it is in now,
lets hope something can be done,
another nail in the coffin of nairn !

Bill said...

After the pretty universal condemnation I received for the comments I made in a recent post thread here:
because of the seeming reluctance to accept that giving parents a choice, even one based on such an 'unseemly concept' as ability to pay, for the way in which they choose to have their children educated, I am tempted to suggest that the good people of Nairn be allowed to 'stew in their own juice' as a just reward for their blinkered attitudes toward the provision of education. The pettiness of the 'gurning' about permitting a private educational establishment even to advertise its services, whether for free OR paid for, in the Nairn Library quite frankly turned my stomach. I was educated, as it so happens, exclusively in the state sector and my parents could certainly never have contemplated any other course, but I have absolutely no moral or political objection to parents being permitted to choose a different option for themselves if they wish to and can afford to pay or their children can gain bursaries. It's all about choice - and I do believe that giving a state sector place of education some healthy reasonably-local competition, whether within the state or private sectors, is likely to encourage the improvement of standards in all the alternative venues. Decent local state sector competition os of course equally valuable for local private education providers to ensure their standards are not allowed to slip either.

If Nairn Academy provided an unsurpassed venue (educationally and/or ennvironmentally) for educating children then there would be no need for most people even to consider sending their kids anywhere else, but it has been suggested for some time that all was not well at Nairn Academy. Today's closure may hopefully be proved to be unnecessary, once all the health and safety checks have been completed, but if not what then?

Anonymous said...

Aah! - the "A" word - Asbestos, why cant everyone just wait for the fibre count and air sampling results for the dust particles.

No - that would not do, lets blow this out of all proportion and have a good gurn.

The Highland Council have policies and procedures for managing asbestos in their buildings as required under legislation.

Part of managing is to know where any suspected material is and how best to manage it, if that means sealing it and not sticking pins in it then, that hardly justifies knocking the school down and building a new one for a low risk category.

There is a higher risk from the fibres that are naturally airborn in the very air that we breath from disturbances that we know not about and have gone totally unmanaged in the private sector.

Not that long ago a neighbour had their facia's & soffatts renewed in PVC - "lovely job" - only problem was the soffats are an asbestos material manufactured in the early 40's

Now I know for a fact that the material was not sampled & tested before removal and where did the spoil go?

Does the neighbour care? - No - not a hoot, It's the contractors problem he says.

Come on folks lets wait for the outcome and then decide if it's all doom and gloom, God forbid have you seen the state of some of the Schools in other parts of the Highlands, obviously not...!

Nairn said...

‘The good people of Nairn be allowed to 'stew in their own juice' as a just reward for their blinkered attitudes’

A school has been closed and pupils are not receiving their all-important education.
To wish this as a plague of locusts upon the whole of Nairn because an innocent comment was made as to a library display shows an unbelievable lacking of either understanding or compassion for the current situation of Nairn Academy.
I very much hope the problem at the Academy is resolved as soon as is possible, and that attention is given to other issues which the building has.
I don’t expect you to reply Bill as you don’t know who I am and you have stated previously that this is a problem for you.
Maybe one-day a dose of humanity will land on you?


Graisg said...

anon @ 9.37 Yes let's hope the dust is harmless but on the matter of asbestos in general.
Your neighbour can make decisions as to what he wishes to do in his own house, the pupils, workers and teachers of Nairn Academy don't really have the same choice, whatever the level of risk.

Anonymous said...

Aah! - the "A" word - Asbestos, why cant everyone just wait for the fibre count and air sampling results for the dust particles.

so you saying then, in the mean time parents should have no concern for there childrens health and safety in this school, pending the results of the tests, even with a clear result would that not be a concern for future possible problems with the asbestos we know is already there ?

Anonymous said...

Do you have asbestos in your house?

Do you have a responsibility to others that frequent or visit your property even at your invitation?

No you probably have no idea at all what materials in your property have or may be suspected of containing asbestos like all the rest of us.

Graisg or should I say God -

"Your neighbour can make decisions as to what he wishes to do in his own house"

Your missing the point! we all have responsibilities to deal with the risk adequatly & correctly -

So you are in effect condoning the practice of asbestos removal because "a homeowner can do as he wishes in his own house"

I think I have a good idea of your experiance within the property management sector!

Bill said...

I don’t expect you to reply Bill as you don’t know who I am and you have stated previously that this is a problem for you.
Maybe one-day a dose of humanity will land on you?

What a cowardly person you are, iRight. I will not be baited by your pathetic attempts at insulting me for criticising what is an absolutely atrocious situation at Nairn Academy - a situation which has been allowed to develop in a state school by officials who, supposedly, are there to advance the public's interests, which does not seem to me to include allowing the potential poisoning of some of a town's next generation.

Rather than letting ideology and the politics of envy get in the way, people need to start looking at all the alternatives.

Nairn said...

A coward I am not Bill, but neither am I an opportunist who would grasp the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Nairn Academy to further comment on a debate regarding private/public schooling, this smacks of the sort behaviour that some political parties seem to enjoy which I find pathetic.
Asbestos in buildings knows no private/public sector divide, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find many private educational establishments affected by this issue as well.
But back to THE issue.
Like many older schools Nairn Academy is in a precarious health state due to common use of asbestos in buildings. The only long-term safe solution is for all such material to be removed from the building completely. This move would doubtless prove very costly and therefore extremely unpopular with Highland Council but is the only real effective method of making the building safe for both pupils and staff. If I were either one of those groups I would be extremely unhappy to enter the site, and I for one would fully support a move to lobby for the complete removal of asbestos from all our schools, not just Nairn.
The Daily Mirror has just this month started a campaign for increased asbestos awareness
I would urge folk to read this and also as mentioned in my previous post a site dedicated to the subject of asbestos in schools
We need 100% action, not promises or half-baked attempts to deal with this issue other than by total asbestos removal,

Anonymous said...

I feel pretty sure if you do a survey of all present Nairn Academy pupils in 40 years time, you will probably find that none will be suffering from any asbestos related disease.

However almost certainly some will be dead from the effects of smoking, alcohol and drug related diseases.
These are the scourge that parents should really be worried about.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure both pupils and staff at Nairn Academy would like to know that they are safe now and not wait several decades for someone to do a head count.

It is both sad and true that many people will die from other ailments but does this mean we should ignore the asbestos problem?