Parents of children at a “dilapidated” primary school – where a third of pupils claim to have been struck by respiratory illnesses – has issued a desperate plea for their “sick school” to be replaced.

The parent council at Broadford Primary School will meet with council bosses on Monday to discuss the state of the 1970s school building.

They claim its condition is “negatively impacting on the health and educational attainment” of children and staff, adding it is “a breeding ground for infections and respiratory illnesses”.

Results of a recent survey conducted by the parent group found that 32 per cent of current pupils have been diagnosed with a respiratory illness.

Parents have also reported that conditions of children had increasingly improved during school holidays and about 77 per cent of former pupils reported their condition had improved significantly after leaving the stricken school.

The revelation, coupled with a visit by officials in June, has forced Highland Council to conduct its own survey into pupils’ health at the school on the Isle of Skye.

Rosie Woodhouse, of Broadford Primary’s Parent Council, said: “During the holiday period, fellow parents report that their children do not need to use inhalers and that their asthma has shown a noticeable improvement.”

Harmful asbestos has also been found in the 44-year-old building, with a previous incident closing the school’s canteen in 2018.

Hamish Fraser, chairman of the Broadford Community School and Hub Working Group, said: “Broadford Primary pupils urgently need the Scottish Government, Highland Council and Broadford Primary to work together if we are to prioritise the health and safety of our children and staff.”

Parent council members also claim adverse medical effects forced one former teacher into early retirement after developing health issues while working at Broadford, but that they were able to resume work at another school following the change of workplace.

A Highland Council spokesman said the authority is committed to improving the school within budget constraints, and that asbestos management plans are in place.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said they “recognise the understandable concern” of parents, adding that responsibility for the building lies with the Highland Council after being awarded £63 million of the £1.8 billion Schools for the Future programme.

Broadford Primary School is one of 11 earmarked for development amid the next round of funding from the Scottish Government.

The school has been added to the list of facilities Highland Council deems to be in need of urgent investment.

Scottish Ministers announced a further £1 billion schools investment programme in November, with a new Learning Estate Strategy to be published next month.

Included on the list of priority schools by Highland Council are: A new campus in Tain for ages 3-18, Nairn Academy, Fortrose Academy, Alness Primary, Beauly Primary, Broadford Primary, Dunvegan Primary, Invergordon Primary, Kiltearn Primary, Tarradale Primary, and St Clements special school.

Source: The Scotsman

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