Parts of Preston Lodge High School in Prestonpans have been forced to temporarily close as building inspections take place.

The decision comes on the back of East Lothian Council’s desire to inspect buildings across the county that are constructed using Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC).

RAAC is a lightweight form of concrete used in roof, floor, cladding and wall construction in the UK from the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s.

The UK government has encouraged local authorities to inspect buildings made with RAAC, with particular concern given to roofs due to the limited durability of the material.

Similar roof inspections at Musselburgh’s Brunton Theatre found “structural issues” in March which resulted in the widespread closure of the facility on safety measures.

Gavin Clark, Preston Lodge headteacher, addressed parents about the temporary closures in an email and stressed that the closures allowed the contractors to carry out the surveys “as safely and effectively as possible”.

In the school, the PE gyms and games hall, the maths “gallery” corridor and its three adjoining classrooms, the top floor of C Block (Modern Languages, Business/IT and RME) and the top floor of the Art/Science block, have all been closed.

Due the ongoing SQA exams diet meaning fewer pupils are at school, Mr Clark was confident that disruption would be kept to a minimum.

He said: “Although we do expect some disruption, we will minimise the impact on learning by invoking our business continuity plan.

“Because there are only three year groups in school at present, due to SQA exams, we have sufficient room capacity to ensure learning can continue in other parts of the school.

“Staff are now working to put these arrangements in place, including some necessary timetabling adjustments.

“SQA exams will continue as normal, although we will be using different rooms, because the RME rooms we have used so far will not be available. We will make sure that this change does not have any negative impact on the exam experience for S4-6 students.

“While survey work at Preston Lodge has already started, it is clear, following discussion with the contractor, that temporarily restricting access to some parts of the building will enable inspections to be carried out efficiently and effectively.

“Carrying out these inspections to establish the extent to which any RAAC was used in the construction of the building will provide us with important information, and support the continued health and safety of all our students and staff.”

It was stressed, at this early stage, that only survey works were taking place; however, if any issues are found, the upcoming summer break will allow East Lothian Council and the school to carry out necessary remedial works.

He added: “I do appreciate there will be some inevitable disruption, but I am confident we can keep that to a minimum, because there are fewer students in school at present.

“We will provide a further update as soon as possible, and thank you for your understanding.”

An East Lothian Council spokesperson added: “East Lothian Council, in common with other local authorities across the UK, has actioned structural surveys to be undertaken of buildings constructed during the mid-1950s to early 1980s to assess possible use of RAAC precast concrete materials.

“In order to facilitate these surveys, some parts of the building have been temporarily closed.”

Headteacher, Gavin Clark, and his staff have put in place alternative arrangements to ensure the continuation of education provision including the current SQA exam timetable, while more detailed survey work is carried out.”

The council also stressed that due to their time of construction it is likely that other high schools in East Lothian are not affected by the same issue as they were built either before or after RAAC became a popular building material.