Schools closed due to concrete: ‘No extra cash’ to fix collapse-prone classrooms despite Hunt’s promises

Expert explains why Raac is more dangerous than regular concrete

Pressure mounts on the Rishi Sunak government to convey the depth of the crisis to British parents as Labor accused the Department of Education of being in “complete chaos”.

Labour’s shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said it was “vital” that the government released the list of all the RAAC-erected buildings that are dangerous “as soon as possible”.

It comes as Education Secretary Gillian Keegan is set to face the morning broadcast this morning for the first time since a crumbling concrete crisis and Parliament returns from recess.

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department said there was “no extra money” to fix collapsing classrooms, despite Jeremy Hunt’s pledge to “spend what’s necessary” to make classrooms safe.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Hunt declined to speculate on the potential cost of fixing the problem, but said: “We will spend whatever is necessary to ensure children can go to school safely, yes.”

However, sources in Whitehall said additional costs for principals, including transport to alternative schools and meals, will not be borne by the central government, according to the Guardian.


Education Department “complete chaos” as concrete crisis mounts

Ministers are under pressure to set out their plans to protect schools from aerated concrete at the start of the new term.

Shadow Education Minister Bridget Phillipson said it was a “scandal that while children are just returning to school, ministers are still not open about the magnitude of what lies ahead”.

“It is important that they release the list of all schools as soon as possible,” she said.

“If they don’t, we will force a vote in the House of Commons to ensure parents know exactly what is going on.

“This is totally unacceptable, children have experienced so much disruption in their education and ministers need to address this because there is complete chaos in this department.”

Shveta SharmaSep 4, 2023 5:52 am


Scottish minister says there is no imminent risk to the safety of pupils in schools

Public buildings in Scotland containing reinforced aerated concrete (RAAC) pose an “imminent safety risk” to schoolchildren and hospital patients, a Scottish Government Minister has said.

Health Economics Secretary Neil Gray said investigations were underway to assess the size of buildings in Scotland housing the concrete at risk of collapse.

According to the Scottish Government, the lightweight concrete is present in 35 schools in Scotland. Local authorities are checking what other buildings it has been used in, including hospitals and public housing.

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show, Mr Gray said: “At the moment there is no immediate danger to the people using these buildings and that is why we continue to support our local partners, NHS leaders and others where Raac operates.” their buildings to ensure this continues to be the case and where issues need to be resolved, remedial action is taken to keep people safe.”

Shveta SharmaSep 4, 2023 7:23 am


Labor rekindle allegations of attack claiming one specific scandal shows Rishi Sunak doesn’t want schools safe

Over 100 schools have been ordered to partially or fully close their buildings over fears of hazardous concrete collapsing, wreaking havoc as the new school year begins.

The attack ad, which was posted on social media yesterday, is an overhaul of a controversial graphic the party distributed to voters earlier this year.

Shveta SharmaSep 4, 2023 6:37 am


Parents are still unaware of the specific crisis as students return to school despite “thousands more buildings at risk”.

Parents are still groping in the dark as millions of pupils return to school this week despite fears “thousands” more buildings could collapse from crumbling concrete.

Asked for an estimate that up to 7,000 schools could be affected, Mr Hunt told the BBC he “didn’t want to speculate on those numbers” to avoid comments that “could scare people unnecessarily”.

Shveta SharmaSeptember 4, 2023 5:30 am


Editorial: Failing schools have become a symbol of Tory incompetence

As the House of Commons returns from its six-week summer break today, Rishi Sunak’s much-publicized ‘reset’ has got off to an unfavorable start. Schools are also due again in England, but many pupils, parents and teachers have had to wait anxiously over the weekend to find out if their schools will function normally. This summer it turned out that the reinforced aerated concrete used in the construction of buildings between the 1950s and 1990s is more dangerous than previously thought.

There are increasing evidence Ministers brushed aside warnings about the problem after the partial roof collapse of a Kent secondary school in 2018, which fortunately happened over a weekend.

The temptation to give up was too great – an example of the costly short-termism our politicians suffer.

Read The Independent’s editorial.

Shveta SharmaSep 4, 2023 5:08 am


Which schools have to close because of the collapsing RAAC?

A total of 156 schools with RAAC were identified, according to the government, of which 104 require urgent action and 52 have already undergone repair work. About 35 schools in Scotland have been affected, although Scottish Prime Minister Humza Yousaf said on Saturday there were no plans to close schools there “at this time”.

Shveta SharmaSep 4, 2023 4:56 am


Not all RAAC buildings will be affected, says an expert

As the new semester begins, uncertainties and questions are mounting over plans to shield schools from aerated concrete as the government has yet to reveal the full extent of the crisis.

A construction expert said the closure will be case-by-case.

“The impact of RAAC will vary from case to case. Not all schools with RAAC need to close: what disruptions occur will vary on a case-by-case basis, including how a school can take remedial action — and how quickly it can do so,” Tim Seal, chief of construction at a Ridgemont law firm , says. He said the government has been managing the risks associated with RAAC since around 2018 by providing guidance to owners and managers. However, some recent cases – including sudden roof collapses – have meant that buildings with RAAC should not remain open without additional security measures in place.

“This can be seen as part of the Government’s policy focus in recent years on the security of buildings, particularly those occupied by more vulnerable sections of society,” he adds. “RAAC was used in various types of public buildings from the 1960s to the 1990s – not only in schools but also in hospitals, for example. Not all remain in the public sector today. For building owners and managers who are at risk of RAAC in their buildings, it would be wise to seek the advice of a qualified civil engineer or building surveyor.”

Shveta SharmaSep 4, 2023 4:40 am


The Minister of Education has to face the media for the first time since the school crisis

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan will face the morning radio for the first time since a crumbling concrete crisis this morning.

She will also address Parliament this week about the government’s plans to tackle the problem of school closures.

DfE said it would inform Parliament “of the plan to update parents and the public on the issue”.

Ms Keegan said the disruptions caused by the crisis should last “days not weeks”, even in cases where pandemic-style distance learning has become necessary due to building closures.

Shveta SharmaSep 4, 2023 4:20 am


ICYMI: Revealed: Obese patients were treated on the hospital’s ground floor over concerns that crumbling concrete could collapse

Overweight patients are being treated on the ground floor of a hospital amid fears that floors of crumbling concrete above could collapse.

The shocking revelation came after a group of MPs visited the hospital, which was built of reinforced aerated concrete (RAAC).

Labor MP Meg Hillier, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, described the MPs’ discovery as “stunning”.

Eleanor NoyceSeptember 4, 2023 04:00


The RAAC’s specific “ticking time bomb” that schools were warned about years ago

Last year building experts warned that RAAC was a “ticking time bomb” and estimated that around “half” of the UK’s four million non-residential buildings were affected by the material.

When was the material first used, when was it first reported as a hazard and what was done about it?

Alexander Butler reports:

Eleanor NoyceSeptember 4, 2023 03:00

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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