AceBreakingNews – As of today, fewer than 1% of all education settings have confirmed cases of RAAC.
Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Sept.06: 2023: Department for Education
The list of schools and colleges where the presence of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) was confirmed by 30 August has been published by the Department for Education today (Wednesday 6 September). The vast majority of school remain unaffected.
Thanks to the hard work of education leaders and local councils, the majority of settings have already been able to put mitigations in place to open on time, with 104 settings providing face-to-face learning for all pupils this week.
A further 20 settings have put hybrid arrangements in place, with some pupils learning off-site, whilst 19 have delayed the start of term by a few days to ensure pupils can return to face-to-face learning safely on site. Settings offering remote learning are expected to do so for a very short period of time, in most cases for a matter of days.
Only a very small number, 4, have needed to move to remote learning for a short period of time. 9 settings have since been found not to have RAAC.
The department has provided a dedicated caseworker for every school and college with confirmed RAAC, to provide tailored support including when face-to-face learning is in place. Funding for emergency mitigation work, including structural support and temporary accommodation, will also be available.
The department has received responses relating to 95% of schools built in the period where RAAC was used. Figures published today are likely to change over time as the final 5% return their questionnaires and surveys are carried out. Some will be added to the list of confirmed cases while others are resolved or found to be safe following further investigation.
Any responsible body or school that has notified the Department of suspected RAAC will be surveyed within the coming weeks and supported to put mitigations in place.
Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, said:
I know this is the last way parents, teachers and children affected by this wanted to begin the new term, but it will always be my priority to ensure the safety of pupils and staff.
Thanks to the hard work of schools, colleges, councils, diocese and academy trusts, the majority of settings where RAAC has been confirmed have opened to all pupils for the start of term.
We will continue to support all impacted settings in whatever way we can, whether that’s through our team of dedicated caseworkers or through capital funding to put mitigations in place.
We are also expediting surveys and urging all responsible bodies to tell us what they know about RAAC, so we can be confident that settings are safe and supported.
The publication of the list follows the precautionary and proactive decision by the department to ask settings to vacate any space or building know to contain RAAC. The government increased the supply of temporary buildings, working with three national contractors, and accelerated the installation of these. Leading utility companies are also supporting to ensure that those classrooms can be opened.
On funding, the Chancellor has confirmed that the government will spend whatever it takes to keep children safe. This includes paying for the emergency mitigation work, including alternative classroom space where necessary.
The department has committed £1.8 billion in capital funding this year to support schools to stay operational, whilst 500 schools will also be transformed over the next decade through the School Rebuilding Programme. A further £1.5 billion has been made available for colleges through the Further Education capital transformation fund.
This week, the Department for Education has also written to a small number of responsible bodies, including local authorities and multi-academy trusts, who have not yet informed the department about the presence of RAAC in their school buildings. The department has asked all responsible bodies to respond to its questionnaire about the condition of RAAC by the end of the week.
*(RAAC): Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete
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