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20 May 2016, 13:34
Three of the schools in Edinburgh which were closed over safety fears are to reopen to students next week, the city council has confirmed.
Oxgangs Primary, St Peter's Primary and the Braidburn School will be the first of 17 schools which were shut to open their doors again after remedial works have been carried out.
Youngsters will return to classes on Tuesday May 24, with five other schools due to open again in June.
Edinburgh City Council leader Andrew Burns said: "I am sure the parents at these three schools will be relieved to see their children back at their own schools next week.
"It has been a very difficult time for everyone and I want to thank parents for their patience and understanding.''
About 7,600 primary and secondary school children in the capital were affected when the schools, which were all built or refurbished as part of the same public private partnership (PPP) scheme, were closed suddenly in April.
The council took the decision to shut them after Edinburgh Schools Partnership said it was unable to provide safety assurances for the properties.
As a result, thousands of youngsters have been bussed to schools across the city for lessons, although they have been taught by their regular teachers.
Mr Burns said: "Staff at the schools and across the council have pulled out all the stops to ensure our young people's education could continue and they deserve praise for their commitment and flexibility.
"Our priority has always been the safety of our pupils and staff, and we have insisted that Edinburgh Schools Partnership and their contractors take a belt-and-braces approach to these works and associated paperwork.
"This approach has also been reviewed by an independent expert on behalf of the council.
"I hope parents will take comfort from the level of rigour we have applied and insisted upon throughout.''
He added: "The remedial work at the remaining schools is on track, with five due to reopen in June and the remaining nine by the middle of August for the start of the new term. If we can bring forward any of these dates, we will.''
Firrhill High is scheduled to reopen to pupils on June 6, followed by Royal High and Drummond Community High on June 20, and then Broomhouse Primary and St Joseph's Primary on June 27.
The remaining nine properties affected are on course to reopen for the start of the new school year in August, according to the council.
The local authority has already confirmed an independent inquiry into the school closures will be held after the summer holiday.