Doubts on 'priority' for safety

17th May 1996 at 01:00
The Scottish Secretary's pledge to find money for improved school security "in the wider public expenditure context" was greeted with scepticism this week.

Michael Forsyth said he would attach "the highest priority" to changes recommended by a working group on school security set up after the fatal stabbing of Philip Lawrence, a London headteacher, and given added momentum by the Dunblane killings.

The Secretary of State said he was prepared to consider making a specific grant to local authorities to ensure the cash was not spent on anything else. But Ronnie Smith, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, said he remained to be convinced that this would be "new money".

Elizabeth Maginnis, the education authorities' leader, said councils needed "millions". The working group made 22 recommendations, including security cameras, intruder alarms, restricted access and perimeter fencing. The cost per school has been estimated at Pounds 58,000.

Mr Forsyth said the recommendations would be passed to Lord Cullen as part of his enquiry into the Dunblane shootings. "We shall consider any further recommendations he makes on this subject as a matter of urgency," he said

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