RAAC

Avoid costly survey on ‘crumbly concrete’, DfE tells schools

It comes as ministers appear to row back on publishing responses on how many schools have reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete

It comes as ministers appear to row back on publishing responses on how many schools have reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete

The DfE is

Schools do not need to splash out on “costly” surveys when scoping out their school buildings for a material liable to collapse, officials have said.

For the past year, the Department for Education has been urging schools and responsible bodies to check for reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) and complete a questionnaire. 

Government property officials say the material – a “crumbly type of concrete used widely in flat-roofed school buildings mostly built pre-1980s – can be “liable to collapse”. 

Guidance sent out in December sets out a five-stage RAAC identification process, with “information collection” as the first.

Rob Read, the department’s education estates building safety lead, said some schools and responsible bodies used external suppliers for surveys, “which have been costly”. 

He told the Schools and Academies Show:“That cost could have been avoided through information gathering, record information, understanding anecdotally anything that is known by any other staff about the school or just by looking at the structure. There’s not a very high bar for that.” 

The guidance says that a specialist engineer need not be appointed until stage three. 

All reports of suspected RAAC are investigated by DfE-commissioned structural engineers with site surveys confirming its presence, the department said. 

‘Evolving picture’ on schools impacted

Ministers appear to have rowed back on the idea of publishing survey responses. 

Jonathan Gullis, the then schools minister, said in October that “depending upon the survey uptake in the next six months, an initial estimate may be issued in April 2023”.

However, last month, Nick Gibb, the current minister, said the DfE “only holds partial data and is not able to provide details of schools that contain RAAC elements”.

The government would, however, consider releasing outcomes from the questionnaire in the future. Read added it was an “evolving picture”.

A Schools Week investigation last autumn found at least 41 schools across 15 councils had RAAC. Another 150 were suspected or needed extensive investigation. 

Read said the department had not found any RAAC in school walls, but had discovered it in floors and roofs.  

Existing capital programmes would support schools, among “ongoing conversations” with Treasury about “what next”, he said. 

Latest education roles from

Procurement Officer

Procurement Officer

RNN Group

Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment

Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment

Barnet and Southgate College

Professional Practice (TLA) Lead

Professional Practice (TLA) Lead

RNN Group

Health & Care Coordinator

Health & Care Coordinator

MidKent College

HR Assistant

HR Assistant

MidKent College

Principal, Cedar Mount Academy Bright Futures Educational Trust

Principal, Cedar Mount Academy Bright Futures Educational Trust

Satis Education

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

Navigating NPQ Funding Cuts: Discover Leader Apprenticeships with NPQs

Recent cuts to NPQ funding, as reported by Schools Week, mean 14,000 schools previously eligible for scholarships now face...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

How do you tackle the MIS dilemma?

With good planning, attention to detail, and clear communication, switching MIS can be a smooth and straightforward process, but...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

How can we prepare learners for their future in an ever-changing world?

By focusing their curriculums on transferable skills, digital skills, and sustainability, schools and colleges can be confident that learners...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

Inspiring Education Leaders for 10 Years

The 10th Inspiring Leadership Conference is to be held on 13 and 14 June 2024 at the ICC in...

SWAdvertorial

More from this theme

RAAC

RAAC school faces £2m hit after pupils go elsewhere

Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust is not the only MAT complaining of drops in numbers at RAAC-affected schools

Jack Dyson
RAAC

Ministers snubbed school bids to repair RAAC buildings

Findings put the issue of inadequate capital investment under the spotlight once again

Jack Dyson
RAAC

RAAC: 119 schools to be rebuilt, 110 will get removal grants

234 schools have now been identified as having confirmed RAAC

Freddie Whittaker
RAAC

Ofsted rejects RAAC school inspection exemption call

But crumbly concrete disruption will be 'sufficient grounds to defer the inspection'

Freddie Whittaker

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *