Parents have called for compensation for childcare costs that could reach £1 million over the crisis that closed 17 Edinburgh schools keeping thousands at home for a week or more.

The Scottish Parent Teacher Council said parents must get "the support they need to manage childcare" after around 5,000 primary and 2,600 secondary pupils were affected told to stay at home as a matter of urgency.

Secondary students sitting exams in a few weeks are due back in school by today but primary children will not be back until Monday.

So far the number of primary school pupils with alternative arrangements in place is 1,300 and the number of S4, S5 and S6 pupils going back to school is 2,000.

If parents of all pupils affected received the equivalent of £150 reimbursement it would take the total to £1.14m.

The city council announced on Friday it was keeping the schools closed amid building safety fears related to public private partnership (PPP).

A spokesperson for the SPTC, whose membership is made up of Parent Councils, PTAs and other parent groups, said support for childcare should also be made a priority, adding: "Communication with parents is going to be critical over the next few days; the government and council must work together in ensuring that there is as little disruption as possible to pupils’ education as possible and that parents get the support they need to manage childcare.

"For those pupils in senior school, as they head towards the exam diet, the pressure is on to ensure alternative arrangements are in place quickly.”

Luke McCullough, of the Royal High School Parent Council, said getting children back in classes is the current focus but the issue of compensation could be raised as early as next week when the group meets in the wake of the crisis.

He said: "Our parents remain concerned about how long it will take for our S1s to S3s to be accommodated educationally."

Andrew Kerr, chief executive of the city council, said he is in talks with the Edinburgh Schools Partnership, the company formed to oversee the building and running of the PPP schools, over the firm reimbursing childcare costs as well as paying for any repairs to buildings.

Mr Kerr said: “They have already confirmed that they will accept full financial responsibility for investigating and resolving these construction issues to ensure that each and every affected school undergoes all necessary remedial work.

"In addition, I have raised the prospect of parents’ childcare costs being reimbursed and await a response."


The ESP, a consortium private company like Edinburgh Leisure or Marketing Edinburgh, claimed compensation had not been raised directly and said: "We are in daily contact with the council and it will be up to them to decide how any financial settlement agreed with ESP should be used.”

Council leader Andrew Burns has also tabled an emergency motion calling for an "urgent report into the series of events surrounding the closures, including a full update from the Edinburgh Schools Partnership".

Green councillor Melanie Main said those hit should get free entry to leisure and heritage facilities to help with "already mounting childcare bills".

Galliford Try, the firm that overtook one of the school contractors Miller in 2014, said it is responsible for four of the 17 schools.

The company said in a statement: "Remedial work required to remedy defects in those four schools is nearing completion and the costs are not material to the group."