Forty more schools with RAAC named

The government has named more than 40 more schools and colleges with buildings that contain reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

An updated list published by the Department for Education (DfE) includes 43 more education settings where RAAC has been confirmed, taking the total to 214.

Of these, 202 are still providing face-to-face learning for all pupils, while 12 have put in place hybrid arrangements. None have had to move to remote learning full time.

Last year the government issued a questionnaire for schools and colleges to identify suspected RAAC. In a written ministerial statement, education secretary Gillian Keegan said that responses had been received for 99.9 per cent of schools and colleges with blocks built in the relevant years.

Officials are in touch with institutions to resolve the 17 remaining responses required.

The government is funding the emergency work needed to mitigate RAAC, which may include installing alternative classroom space.

It is also funding “longer-term refurbishment or rebuilding projects to address the presence of RAAC in schools”, Keegan said.

The minister wrote: “Schools and colleges will either be offered capital grants to fund refurbishment work to permanently remove RAAC, or rebuilding projects where these are needed, including through the School Rebuilding Programme. We are working closely with responsible bodies to assess what the right solution is for each case.”

The DfE advises education settings to vacate areas known to contain RAAC “unless or until suitable mitigations are in place”.

RAAC is a lightweight form of concrete that was often used in construction between the 1950s and mid-1990s. It is predominantly found in roofs and occasionally in floors and walls.

It first emerged as an issue after the sudden collapse of a school roof in Kent in 2018. A report by watchdog the Standing Committee on Structural Safety the following year warned that the material was inherently “much weaker” than traditional concrete and had a “useful life” of around three decades.

In September 2022 the Office of Government Property sent a notice to all property leaders warning that all RAAC was “life-expired and liable to collapse”.

A series of RAAC failures in quick succession then triggered a major alarm at the end of August.

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