Gillian Keegan, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of Education, has said she is still unaware of how many RAAC-risk schools would be closed when classes resume today.

By Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter Updated: 03:09 EDT, 4 September 2023 Education Secretary Gillian Keegan says she STILL doesn’t know how many RAAC-risk schools need to close when term starts TODAY.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan admitted today that she does not know how many schools may have to close because of crumbling concrete or how much money will be needed to fix them.Ministers are under pressure to speed up their plans to inspect 450 schools suspected of containing RAAC beams because the current timetable means that they will not all be checked until December.

Councils still don’t know if they’re safe, but tens of thousands of kids are returning to school this week. Ms. Keegan, England’s Education Secretary, told Sky News this morning that it’s possible that the concrete in hundreds of schools around the country is crumbling.

“Most kids are heading back to school today. Many schools are either looking for alternative accommodation, whether through a multi-academy trust or the local authority, or moving to another classroom if they have spare space. However, some schools will have to close because they have quite extensive RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) and we need to put temporary accommodation in place.

More work needs to be done if the problem affects the entire school. Ms. Keegan took a’very cautious approach’ by closing schools days before the start of the new term after incidents over the summer where crumbling concrete ‘failed’ in settings previously classified as non-critical.

On Monday, she finally addressed the public for the first time since the school situation began:

“What happened over the summer is we had three cases,” he said, “not in schools, some not in schools, and some in different jurisdictions.” When the structural engineers visited the sites, they believed there had been a failure, but it was in a non-critical setting. That was fresh data and proof, so I proceeded with extreme caution.

She continued, “I knew that was going to be challenging because, you know, certainly for parents and for teachers, this coming so late in August, but that’s when we got the proof that a panel had failed in a roof that had previously been categorized as non-critical.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan told BBC Breakfast, “We’ve now increased to eight surveying companies.” Three portable cabin companies are ready to provide temporary accommodation for schools affected by crumbling concrete.

We have contracted with three Portakabin or temporary accommodation companies who have on stock the Portakabins available, and we have a national propping company ready to go in and prop. So normally we wouldn’t do this, the responsible bodies would do it, but to make it much more efficient we’ve centrally taken that on board so that we can a) pay for it and b) make sure that it’s very quickly available.

There has been outrage amongst teachers, parents, and campaign groups about how the scandal has been handled.Arabella Skinner, director of Us For Them, a group that campaigns on children’s issues, said: ‘It is completely unacceptable that it will take a whole term to learn if the buildings children are sitting in are safe.

This collision is emblematic of the disrespect shown to children by successive governments and is a direct result of the panic-inducing communications deployed throughout the pandemic. Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza told the BBC, “I am extremely disappointed and frustrated that there wasn’t a plan in place for this happening; there is a genuine threat to their safety and parents, and the Government has no idea which schools are affected.” While the government may not have been aware that it would occur this week, we were.

Thangam Debbonaire, the shadow leader of the House of Commons, said on Monday that a vote would be held this week to require the government to release a list of buildings affected by the concrete crisis. “Today parents, children, staff up and down the country will be wondering whether it’s their school building that’s at risk, whether their school building is safe for children to learn in,” she said on BBC Radio 4’s Today program.

That way, we can get a better idea of how much it’s going to cost.’ On the other hand, I can’t believe the government waited this long to tell parents the truth, and now that they know, they’re not doing everything they can to rectify it.

She added that Labour shadow ministers have been working on how to repair crumbling public services for months. The crumbly concrete scandal has rumbled on for a week, with West Suffolk Hospital now being warned its main building is ‘likely’ to collapse.

Many public buildings, including schools, hospitals, police stations, and city halls, have been damaged because they were constructed with deteriorating reclaimed wood. There are concerns that the decaying buildings may contain asbestos, which can cause a variety of illnesses including asbestosis and lung cancer. Asbestos exposure kills 5,000 people in the UK each year.

Many engineers rushed to schools yesterday to check out potentially dangerous areas. Up to seven thousand are potentially dangerous.Some students will have to go back to online classes like those offered by Covid starting tomorrow because of the timing of the disaster and the idea that the government has known the full scope of the situation for years. A report based on an April assessment at West Suffolk Hospital stated that there was a “catastrophic” and “likely” risk of the main building collapsing, which would result in “loss of life and/or major injury” and “asbestos and dust inhalation,” and it recommended that workers be provided with FFP3 respiration masks for use in such an event.

The government has promised to replace seven of the worst affected hospitals in England by 2030, and structural engineer and Institution president Matt Byatt told the Sunday Times, “There are two real risk-to-life elements to this: if RAAC collapses it puts life in danger in an instantaneous manner, and asbestos can be deadly if it is inhaled.” Building collapses can cause disruptions in this system and release toxic fibers into the environment.

Asbestosis and lung cancer are just two of the illnesses that these can bring on. However, it is estimated that over 10,000 school-related deaths in the previous 40 years have been caused by asbestos in schools or school buildings. John Wallace, managing director of the Ridgemont construction and real estate legal business, told the publication, “Asbestos in schools presents a significant complicating factor in remediating issues relating to RAAC.” “Asbestos is extremely dangerous if it is disturbed.

‘Parks Primary in Leicester has already seen the effects of both RAAC and asbestos, with a ‘significant percentage’ of the school being forced to close in June.

The concrete scandal: how and when did evidence surface? Lightweight RAAC construction was popular from the 1950s to the mid-1990s; in 1995, The Times reported that the first warnings about RAAC cracking in roofs had been issued; in 2018, the Department for Education (DfE) recognized RAAC as a potential problem; in June 2023, the National Audit Office (NAO) reported on the issue; in the summer of that year, Schools Minister Nick Gibb claimed that new evidence had emerged; on August 31, 2023, parents were informed that some schools
‘In June we were told we had Raac across the whole of our school and it was in a critical condition, which meant that we had to close a large proportion of our school, leaving only open the reception class and two Year 1 classes and two Year 2 classes,’ said headteacher Caroline Evans to Channel 4 News. Evans relocated her 485 students to an office building and a children’s center while an older school building, which had’subsidence too,’ was demolished.

Hundreds of schools are in a mad dash to fix the problems caused by the collapse of a beam that was thought to be safe just before the start of the new school year, and the Government is under increasing pressure to act swiftly and publish a full list of those schools.

Yesterday, the Chancellor of the United Kingdom, Jeremy Hunt, said on Sky News’ Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips that the government would “do what it takes to keep children safe,” including “prioritizing spending money to sort out these problems where that needs to happen,” in reference to the RAAC and the wider asbestos issue.

We want to make sure that every child is safe, therefore since that occurrence, a massive initiative has been working through the RAAC/asbestos problem in the country’s 22,000 schools. essential that all costs are covered by government, not this middle ground where school leaders don’t know and can’t trust Government guidance on what costs will be incurred by their school.’ He downplayed worries that thousands of buildings across the public sector could be affected and fears that students could be doomed to return to lockdown-style online teaching.

Despite his assurances, he would not commit to provide school principals with additional funds to pay for temporary classrooms.

“It is essential that all costs are covered by government, not this halfway house where school leaders are uncertain of and unable to trust Government guidance as to what costs will be incurred by their school,” said Daniel Kebede, general secretary of the National Education Union. Education Secretary Gillian Keegan also came under fire for avoiding interviews on Sunday in favor of a “bizarre” information video backed by cheesy music.

Lightweight RAAC, also known as ‘Aero bar’ concrete, was widely used in the UK for these applications from the mid-1950s until the 1990s. In May, a survey was sent to school principals asking if their buildings contained RAAC; however, only about half of the 14,700 schools considered to be at risk responded.

In guidance published by the Department of Education on Thursday, when the issue first surfaced, it was suggested that students and teachers temporarily relocate to nearby schools, community centers, or a “empty local office building” for the “first few weeks” while structural supports are installed to mitigate the risk of collapse. Officials have allocated £6 million for 600 inspections by the end of 2023.

Engineers have warned that the problem could be far wider, with hospitals, prisons, courts, and offices potentially at risk due to the use of Raac up until the mid-1990s.On Thursday, the agency said it had contacted 104 more schools after 52 of the 156 educational settings containing the concrete took protective steps so far this year.

Safety concerns are “just the tip of the iceberg of a failing school estate,” Dame Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the public accounts committee, said on Friday. Harrow Crown Court in North West London was closed for the foreseeable future last month after RAAC was discovered during improvements.

Moreover, RAAC was discovered in six judicial system buildings, prompting an investigation into whether or not the material was used in the construction of any correctional facilities. In the meantime, the Department of Defense has inspected numerous military bases.

In a study released in April of 2020, the Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures advised its members to ‘urgently’ determine if their buildings had the substance.

According to the research, RAAC may be found in a “wide range” of public and private buildings, while it is “primarily” employed in places like businesses and schools.

Concerns about the safety of RAAC roof planks were reportedly voiced in the 1990s and early 2000s. The issue was first brought to the attention of John Major’s Conservative Government in public buildings in 1995, and it was brought up with the school’s minister once again in 2018 after the roof of a school in Kent suddenly collapsed.

Is the school where YOUR kid goes closing? Fears that concrete could unexpectedly collapse have prompted more than 100 schools and institutions in England to either partially or completely close their facilities. Thousands of students are going to have a rough start to the new school year since the government won’t release the names of the 104 schools that have been forced to close their doors.

Critics have warned the problem may be much more widespread and have called ministers to “come clean” about the scope of the problems with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC). Schools, daycares, and colleges have been given official direction, and the government has assured them that it will pay for temporary housing.

After reviewing the data from the 52 schools affected by the concrete, the Department of Education contacted the remaining 104 to discuss preventative measures.

Parents with questions have been assured that they would be contacted by the school before the start of the semester. The government has not released information on which schools are being closed, therefore MailOnline has developed this list based on media coverage and parent inquiries. St. Clere’s School in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex (SE England) has been closed indefinitely due to concrete fears.

A’significant number’ of classrooms would be affected by the high school’s decision to close the majority of the main building, as stated in a recent website update. When “appropriate mitigation measures are established and approved by independent surveyors,” the school will reopen.

Some 22 classrooms have been closed immediately at Honywood School in Colchester, Essex, East of England, with Year groups engaging in a hybrid of online and on-site instruction. Although Raac was discovered in the school’s kitchen, Jerounds Primary School in Harlow, Essex, East of England, will remain open after being reinforced with a steel structure, according to BBC News. According to reports, Katherines Primary Academy in Harlow, Essex, East of England, has shut down its main campus.

Monday is a day off for students at Clacton County High School in Essex, East England. On Tuesday, only students in seventh grade will be allowed inside; the other grades will have virtual classes instead. On Wednesday through Friday, only students in grades 7 and 11 will be in class, with the rest of the student body using online resources.

Louise Robinson, the headmaster of Kingsdown School in Southend, Essex, East of England, has announced that the school will be closed next week because to the aerated concrete.

Buckhurst Hill Community Primary School, Essex, East of EnglandThe school is closed until Monday, September 11, while alternative teaching arrangements are Tilbury Primary School, Thurrock, Essex, East of EnglandSome sections of the school will be closed, with Year 1 pupils sharing a block with Reception and Year 2 relocated to the sports hall.

The reopening of Thameside Primary School in Essex, East England, is slated for September 11. Many classrooms have been affected by the closure of sections of the institution. There were no students at the Thurstable school or sixth form in Essex, East England, on Wednesday because of a schoolwide implementation of online instruction.

The Billericay School, Essex, East of EnglandA number of classrooms will be unavailable while remedial works are performed, temporarily reducing the school’s on-site teaching capacity, it has said.On Thursday, only students in grades 7 through 13 are expected in school, while students in grades 14 through 16 will be able to participate in on-site instruction through remote learning.

According to BBC News, the Tower, North, and South buildings at The Appleton School in Essex, East of England, are being evacuated this week so that students in Grades 8–10 can do online schoolwork from home. According to BBC News, Woodville Primary School in Chelmsford, Essex, East England, is closed until September 11.

Buckhurst Hill Community Primary School, Essex, East of EnglandThe start of term has been delayed until September 11 for all students so that alternative teaching arrangements can be made. Arthur Bugler Primary School, Thurrock, Essex, East of EnglandBBC News reports that the building for years 4, 5, and 6 will be shut at the start and the new school term could be delayed for these year groups.

BBC News reported that on Monday and Tuesday, there would be no students at The Coopers’ Company and Coburn School in Essex, East of England.

On Tuesday, September 12, students in Grades 7 through 11 at The Gilberd School in Colchester, Essex, East England, will return to class. St. Andrew’s Junior School in Hatfield Peverel, Essex, East of England, has been closed since June 11 and some year groups have been sent to other schools while repairs are made to the roof. Hockley Primary School in Essex, East of England, has been closed since June 11 and some year groups have been sent to other schools. At Ramsey Academy in Halstead, Essex, BBC News has reported that four classrooms have been damaged.

Roding Valley High School, Loughton, Essex, East of EnglandCanteen staff are only able to cater to pupils receiving free school meals, with other students urged to bring a packed lunch, according to BBC News. Ravens Academy, Clacton-On-Sea, Essex, East of EnglandExpected to be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Friday, the Ipswich school informed parents it was affected and ‘will need to consider delaying reopening or partial closure until the issue has been resolved.’ Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin says eight schools in his Harwich and North Essex constituency could be affected by the concrete issue, but these have not been named.

The school in Ipswich is considering delaying reopening or partial closure until the on-site Raac issue has been resolved. East Bergholt High SchoolThe school is deciding whether to delay reopening or partially close. WEST MIDLANDS Aston Manor Academy, BirminghamThe academy has announced a delayed start to the academic year, with students now reporting on August 29.

Additional safety measures, such as additional temporary ceilings, have been erected at the school after Raac was discovered. The school is located in Donnington Wood Infants School in Telford, Shropshire, West Midlands. Its current status will not change.

While the primary school is unaffected, a large portion of Aylesford School in Warwick, West Midlands, will be closed for renovations. On Monday, just seventh graders will be present, but by Wednesday, the entire school will be back in session.

Outwoods Primary School in Atherstone, North Warwickshire, West MidlandsWarwickshire County Council has said it is the only school on its patch affected by Raac but will remain open after precautionary measures were already introduced, according to BBC News. Myton School in Warwick, Warwickshire, West Midlands, has delayed the start of term after informing parents that many students cannot return until September 11.

Head of school Frances Cessford announced on Friday that parts of the building are out of use while safety measures are put in place. The situation is similar at St. Bede’s Catholic School and Byron Sixth Form College in Peterlee, County Durham, North East England, where a temporary building housing a drama teaching space and costume store may be of Raac construction and has been taken out of use before a specialist survey takes place.

The temporary closure of St. Leonard’s Catholic School in Durham, North East England, was announced on September 2. Headteacher Chris Hammill stated that bringing students back to class was the school’s “number one priority,” and that he was in communication with the Department of Education to devise a solution.

An email sent to parents and seen by the PA news agency said they were in conversation with Durham University about using some of their space and with Durham County Council about using the old County Hall building. He said they were looking at options to teach students in school buildings on site that were not affected by the Raac.

ITV News has reported that Ferryhill School in County Durham, North East England, has informed parents via letter that the start of the school year will be postponed and that most students will be educated remotely beginning on September 11.Darlington Borough Council has announced that St. Teresa’s Catholic Primary School in Darlington, North East England, will not open until Monday, September 11 due to security concerns. According to the Darlington Borough Council, Carmel College in Darlington, North East England, has informed parents that the school’s kitchen and library would be temporarily vacated while an inquiry is conducted.

Students in grades 7-11 were asked to bring their own lunches for the first week of school because of the limited break and lunch options that will be available.

St. Anne’s Catholic Primary School in Harlow Green, Newcastle upon Tyne, North East England, and St. Benet’s Catholic Primary School in Ouston, Newcastle upon Tyne, North East England, both announced on August 31 that they would be closing temporarily beginning September 2. At St. James Catholic Primary School in Hebburn, South Tyneside, North East England, on August 31, headteacher Francesca Heslop informed parents that “the school building is unsafe.”

School in Cockermouth, Cumbria, North West England, will open on Tuesday instead of Monday because Raac concrete was discovered in four hallways, the library, and the sports hall. In Bolton, Greater Manchester, North West England, at St. Bernard’s School, ‘disruption’ will occur as scaffolding is erected to support several areas of the school with Raac.

Local media and BBC News indicate that Our Lady’s Catholic High School in Preston, Lancashire, North West England, would be closed on Monday and Tuesday so that necessary safety repairs can be done before classes resume on Wednesday, September 7.

Temporary repairs have been made to one part of the building to ensure its safety, while another part of the structure has been closed since the beginning of the year, according to the Hampshire County Council. HAMPSHIRE Cranbourne College is located in Basingstoke, Hampshire, South East England. At the beginning of the school year, classes will likely resume as usual.

ITV reported that two schools in South East England would be closed on Tuesday: St. Francis Catholic Primary School in Ascot, Berkshire, where key stage two students would begin the new term being taught in marquees due to the discovery of unsafe concrete in the school’s hall and kitchen; and West Sussex’s Greenway Junior School in Horsham, West Sussex.

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE Northampton International Academy, NorthamptonThe usage of the top floor, comprising 18 classrooms, has been restricted until survey work is done, as reported by BBC News. Additionally, the six-form area and a staff room have been shuttered. LEICESTERSHIREMayflower Primary School, Leicester, East MidlandsLeicester City Council has informed Mayflower Primary School that it is one of three schools in Leicester whose buildings have been impacted by Raac and must be taken out of service.

A survey discovered Raac was used in the building of Parks Primary School in Leicester, East Midlands, forcing the school to close in June.Parks Primary School, Leicester, East MidlandsA ‘significant amount’ of the school was affected, the council claimed, before the summer holidays.

The school’s principal, Caroline Evans, was photographed on Friday with other staff members in a makeshift staff room erected in a school corridor. She told Channel 4 News, “In June, we were told we had Raac across the whole of our school and it was in a critical condition, which meant that we had to close a large proportion of our school, leaving only open the reception class, two Year 1 classes, and two Year 2 classes.”

Another affected institution, Willowbrook Mead Primary Academy in the East Midlands, has announced that it will be closed on Monday. In London, BBC News reports that four classrooms, some administrative offices, and the gym will be closed at Cleeve Park School in Sidcup, while the hall, gym, canteen, drama studio, and boys’ and girls’ toilets at St. Thomas More Catholic Comprehensive in Eltham will open as scheduled on Tuesday.

Corpus Christi Catholic School in Brixton, London.Junior school students are being relocated to a temporary location after Raac was found in a roof, according to a statement released on August 18. The school plans to open mobile toilet blocks and is hiring a marquee as a space for the students to eat and prepare food.

Students at London’s Ellen Wilkinson School may have to eat their lunches at home for a while because the school’s science block, old gym, hall, and canteen are being evacuated, as reported by the i daily and BBC News. The institution has not closed.

Bradford Council has banned access to Eldwick Primary School students from entering classrooms where Raac is present in West Yorkshire and Yorkshire and Humber. Bradford Council has indicated that they will be providing temporary classrooms on the site of Crossflatts Primary School in Bingley, near Bradford, Yorkshire and the Humber.

SOUTH YORKSHIREAbbey Lane Primary School, SheffieldLabor MP for Sheffield Heeley Louise Haigh claimed that in July work began to replace a roof over the school kitchen after it was discovered to contain Raac.

Temporary cooking facilities will be ready for use when classes resume on Tuesday at the earliest. Scalby School in Scarborough, Yorkshire and the Humber, is not scheduled to reopen until September 11; until then, students will engage in a hybrid of online and in-person study at home. Holy Trinity Catholic Academy in Newark and Carnarvon Primary School in Bingham, both in Nottinghamshire, have had significant portions of their campuses closed due to the outbreak. Has your school announced its closure like those on the Isle of Wight, in Warrenton, or in Cornwall? For help, write to

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