Scottish school fire – No smoke alarms!

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EVERY school in the country must be immediately assessed for fire risk, the EIS teachers union urged, after an investigation found that Cairneyhill Primary School in Scotland, a large section of which burned to the ground last month, did not even have smoke alarms!

After the horror of the fire at Grenfell Tower you would imagine that in the succeeding months – it has now been well over seven months – basic fire safety in schools would have been checked.

At the end of last year, on December 8 hundreds of school pupils were evacuated Cairneyhill Primary as a fire tore through the school. The alarm was raised around 1pm with more than 200 children escorted out of the playground as the blaze broke out at the school which is on Northbank Road, Dunfermline.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teacher’s union Fife branch has called on Fife Council to immediately review its school fire safety. The EIS has written to education chiefs after an investigation confirmed the building did not have a single smoke alarm fitted.

Following a new revelation that only 72% of Fife’s schools are fitted with smoke detectors, the issue of fire safety in schools has become extremely urgent. EIS Fife spokesman David Farmer said: ‘There is a real need to be looking at this urgently.

‘When it comes to new schools, contractors seem to be putting smoke detectors in as standard. These schools have got the detection equipment, but the older schools haven’t.’

• Scottish union EIS has announced that it is demanding a 10% pay rise for Scottish teachers. Both the EIS and the other Scottish teachers union SSTA have threatened industrial action over pay if the talks do not lead to an acceptable offer, with the vast majority of teachers in both unions saying that they are prepared to take strike action over pay.

The EIS said teachers’ pay had fallen in value by a fifth over the past decade. EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: ‘We are launching our 2018 pay campaign with a very strong and very clear message to local authorities and the Scottish government – Scotland’s teachers deserve a substantial pay rise.

‘The Scottish government has repeatedly said that education is its number one priority, and local authority representatives have also spoken of the importance of teachers in the delivery of high quality education.

‘Our campaign will reflect this, in urging that the teachers who are central to the provision of education be properly valued and fairly paid for the vital work that they do. A good first step towards restoring teachers’ pay to an acceptable level would be the delivery of a 10% pay increase for all teachers in 2018.’