Government says it will remove RAAC from all affected schools

The news comes as the Department for Education (DfE) published a final list of schools and colleges in England with confirmed cases of the risky material, totalling 234 (around 1 per cent of the 22,000-strong school estate).

According to the DfE, 119 of the schools, where ‘works to remove RAAC are more extensive or complex’, will have one or more buildings rebuilt or refurbished through its School Rebuilding Programme.

Another 110 schools and colleges requiring smaller-scale works will receive grant funding to remove RAAC from their buildings.

The five remaining schools and colleges have ‘alternative arrangements’ in place to address the removal of RAAC, supported by the DfE – for example, schools where RAAC-affected buildings will not be part of the school estate in the long term.

The DfE says it is directly contacting each of the affected schools and colleges today to give ‘‘direct confirmation from the department on how the RAAC removal will be funded’.

Education secretary Gillian Keegan said: ‘Nothing is more important to me than the safety of every child and member of staff in school.

‘We will continue to work closely with schools and colleges as we take the next step to permanently remove RAAC from affected buildings.’

She thanked ‘all schools, colleges and local authorities who have worked tirelessly with the department to ensure all children remain in face-to-face education’.

The DfE added that its RAAC identification programme was now complete as 100 per cent of schools and colleges with suspected RAAC had responded to a questionnaire and been surveyed to confirm whether the material was present.

The department said it was supporting ‘a small number of schools and colleges’ which ‘are carrying out additional checks for further assurance in some spaces’.

As well as 119 RAAC-affected schools, eight non-RAAC-affected schools have been added to the 10-year School Rebuilding Programme, taking the total number of schools in the scheme to 513.

RAAC is a lightweight form of concrete, widely used in construction between the 1950s and mid-1990s. Safety concerns first emerged in 2018 when a primary school roof collapsed with little warning.

The concerns escalated late last summer, sparking widespread school closures across the country. The National Audit Office estimated an extra £2.2 billion funding a year would be needed ‘to avoid the most serious risks of building failure’.

So far this year, the government has committed £1.8 billion in capital funding ‘to support schools to stay in good working order’.