Sunak accepts that deteriorating concrete could threaten 100 more schools.

Sunak accepts that deteriorating concrete could threaten 100 more schools.

Rishi Sunak has acknowledged that hundreds more schools in England may be affected by deteriorating concrete, amid accusations that he failed to allocate funding for a program to replace aging classrooms. The Prime Minister has stated that 95% of England’s schools are unaffected, suggesting that more than a thousand schools could still be at risk due to concerns over reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac).

Recently, over a hundred schools in England were informed that they couldn’t fully open just days before the start of the autumn term due to safety concerns related to Raac. This situation may lead to students being taught in temporary classrooms or through remote lessons.

Rishi Sunak emphasized the importance of the government taking swift action in response to new information about the issue. He noted that there are approximately 22,000 schools in England, and it is expected that 95% of them won’t be impacted by this problem, but the exact number of affected schools is still uncertain.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan stated that a list of schools with confirmed Raac issues would be published soon. However, a former top official at the Department for Education, Jonathan Slater, suggested that Rishi Sunak had declined a funding request to rebuild more schools during his time as chancellor. Slater argued that there was a “critical risk to life” if the schools program was not adequately funded.

Rishi Sunak defended his record, stating that he had announced a new 10-year school rebuilding program for 500 schools during his first spending review in 2020. He argued that refurbishing or rebuilding 50 schools a year was in line with past practices.

Opposition figures criticized Sunak’s role in the situation, with Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson holding him responsible and demanding transparency about the number of affected schools and when the government became aware of the Raac risks.

Schools in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are also being assessed for Raac issues, with different responses and assessments provided by their respective governments