Vandalism Bill for Scottish Schools tops £4.5M

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SMASHED WINDOW EDITA Freedom of Information Request by the Scottish Conservatives has revealed that the bill for taxpayers repairing vandalism in Scotland’s schools alone has exceeded £4.5million in the last five years.

Last year, the BBC reported that £1M was spent repairing vandalism in Scottish schools in 2015 alone, but these recent figures have highlighted the severity of the issue which is only getting worse with the total figure for 2015/16 increasing by £100,000 compared to the previous year.

Even more alarming, the recent figures which have come to light do not include figures from many of Scotland’s local authorities – including their capital Edinburgh – making it likely for the final cost total to be much higher.

The figure of £4.5 million of the taxpayers’ money has been spent repairing broken windows, damaged toilets and graffiti.

Scottish Conservative Shadow Education Secretary Liz Smith said:

“It’s very worrying that vandals continue to regard schools as fair game.

“Our councils are hard-pressed enough without having to fork out for needless repairs like this.

“People ought to remember that these are supposed to be safe environments for children to learn and teachers to operate.

“This cannot be the case when they arrive in the morning to find damage to their space.

At Window Security Solutions, we’ve been following reports of the terrible cases of vandalism against schools over the past twelve months in both Scotland and elsewhere in the UK – along with the shocking cost figures which come with it. Here are some recent cases:

St Catherine’s Primary School, Glasgow – £100,000 Damage

Multiple attacks at St Catherine’s Primary School has caused over £100,000 worth of damage over the past year. Glasgow City Council attempted to install metal grids over the classroom windows but these were pulled off the walls by the vandals- ripping out the PVC frames to smash the windows yet again.

Councillor Liz Cameron said: “It is not only the fabric of our building that is being damaged by these mindless vandals but the learning of all the children in the school”.

Gowanbank Primary School, Glasgow – £10,000 Damage

The fifth Primary School to be targeted by vandals in a spate of vandalism over the 2016 Summer Holidays, Gowanbank Primary School suffered £10,000 worth of damage. The vandals took their time, smashing computer screens and sinks, setting off fire extinguishers, trashing classrooms and breaking crockery.

Headteacher John Daley said: “It may only be a building, but this completely takes away from providing our children with a safe and protective learning environment”.

Sandwell Schools, the West Midlands – £130,000 Damage

In March, the Express & Star revealed that cash-strapped Sandwell Council has had to spend more than £130,000 in the past three school years repairing damage caused by vandals such as broken windows, graffiti and stolen lead from roofs.

Councillor Simon Hackett said: “The money we spent on repairing the damage is cash we could use much better to further the education of our children”.

Braunstone Community Primary School, Leicester – £10,000

One of the most recent reports of vandalism was at Braunstone Community Primary School, which saw teachers returning to school in the new year after the Christmas break to £10,000 worth of damage caused by mindless vandalism.

Over 40 windows and doors were smashed, toys and equipment were destroyed and classroom walls and children’s work were sprayed with graffiti.

The vandalism was so severe that the school had to delay opening in the new year for one week – leaving many parents struggling for childcare and children missing out on one week’s worth of education.

Briscoe Lane Academy, Newton Heath

Like many of the schools which have been affected by vandalism across the UK, Briscoe Lane Academy in Newton Heath suffered persistent vandalism for over 12 years.

The school was often targeted at the weekend when the building was empty with windows being repeatedly smashed. The school installed mesh wire grilles over the windows to try and prevent this from happening but as well as not looking aesthetically pleasing – they also did not deter the vandals and damage was still caused.

The view from the classroom with Crimeshield installed.

A Solution

After searching for an effective solution that would help prevent vandalism – as well as looking unobtrusive, they found Crimeshield.

Crimeshield is designed to fit over existing window frames and features a perforated screen which gives the effect of tinted glass from afar.

The perforated style protects the window against blows, rocks and even air gun pellets.

The use of Crimeshield allows all the windows to be protected from vandalism as well as still allowing  60% of light into classrooms and enables the windows to be open, offering good ventilation for classrooms.

Debbie Ollerenshaw, Business Manager at Briscoe Lane Academy said:

“Our academy is in an area of high deprivation and has suffered from extensive vandalism in the past. We wanted a product that was as aesthetically pleasing as possible within budgetary constraints. We are very impressed with the end result – it is very subtle. Crimeshield offers the protection you need without looking obtrusive. The level of service we received from Window Security Solutions was excellent. They are a great company to work with and we would definitely consider them for any suitable projects in the future.

If your school has been a victim of vandalism and you would like to find an effective long-term solution, please speak to our team of window security specialists to find out how we can help on 0161 413 0766 or send us an email.

Sources: Scottish Conservatives, Express and Star, Leicester Mercury, the Guardian.

 


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