RAAC

1 in 10 trusts and councils yet to respond to RAAC survey

Government has even called in MPs to ensure schools are doing checks for the 'crumbly' concrete deemed 'liable to collapse'

Government has even called in MPs to ensure schools are doing checks for the 'crumbly' concrete deemed 'liable to collapse'

22 Jun 2023, 13:09

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More than 10 per cent of trusts and councils still haven’t responded to a vital government survey on “crumbly” reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC). 

Officials have been asking responsible bodies to complete questionnaires on the presence of the potentially dangerous material on their sites since last March. 

But speaking in the House of Lords on Tuesday, academies minister Baroness Barran said: “Nearly 90 per cent of schools and responsible bodies have sent in their initial responses [to our questionnaire] and we are working closely with structural engineering sector to identify accurately both if the RAAC is present and if it poses a risk. 

“We’re now running a small call centre within the department and there are, including sadly some local authorities, organisations we’ve had to contact multiple times. We’re working with MPs and others to make sure we get all the returns.” 

Barran added that she is “very confident we will have carried out at least 600 surveys by the autumn”. 

This comes amid fears from the Office for Government Property that the “crumbly” material, used widely in flat-roofed school buildings, is “liable to collapse”. 

Last week, seven schools – spread across Kent, the north east and Essex – were temporarily closed following discovery of RAAC on their sites.  

According to a Local Government Association report, seen by Schools Week, more than 150 schools “have been identified as potentially having RAAC”.

Last March, the Department for Education asked responsible bodies – trusts and councils – to complete a survey about RAAC on their school sites.

Barran described this as a “superhuman task”, and although a “vast majority” had responded, “a handful” had not.

Speaking to Schools Week she said: “I find that really baffling, because we are here to help them. We’ve lined up a lot of capacity in terms of structural surveys and so forth.”

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