Thursday 8th February 2024

(2 weeks, 4 days ago)

Written Statements
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Gillian Keegan Portrait The Secretary of State for Education (Gillian Keegan)
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This update follows from my oral and written ministerial statements to the House in September, October and December 2023.

There are over 22,000 schools and colleges in England and the vast majority are unaffected by reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete. A final list of schools and colleges with confirmed cases of RAAC in England has been published today. There are 234 education settings, around 1%, with confirmed RAAC in some areas of their buildings.

Thanks to the hard work of school and college leaders, all schools and colleges with confirmed RAAC are providing full-time face-to-face education for all pupils.

The Government are funding the removal of RAAC present in schools and colleges either through grants, or through the school rebuilding programme. The longer-term requirements of each school or college will vary depending on the extent of the issue and nature and design of the buildings. Permanently removing RAAC may involve refurbishment of existing buildings or rebuilding affected buildings.

Today we have confirmed to schools and colleges how we will fund them to remove RAAC permanently. One hundred and nineteen schools are being included within the school rebuilding programme where works to remove RAAC are more extensive or complex. One hundred and ten schools and colleges will receive grant funding where works will typically be smaller in scale. Five schools and colleges have alternative arrangements in place, for example the building will not be part of the school or college estate over the longer term.

The Department for Education’s RAAC identification programme is complete, and the questionnaire has closed. All responsible bodies for schools and colleges with blocks built in the target era have submitted responses to the questionnaire.

Any school or college that advised us its suspects it might have RAAC has had a survey to confirm if RAAC is present. Other than the 234 education settings, the surveys found no evidence of RAAC. A small number of schools and colleges are carrying out additional checks for further assurance in some spaces. We are working with responsible bodies to support them to complete these additional checks as quickly as possible. As these final checks are completed, we expect the number of further cases to be very low. This has been the case over the last two months, when only three cases have been identified.

Our priority will always be to ensure the safety of pupils and staff, which is why we took a cautious approach for schools and colleges. Although the technical advice does not recommend removal in all cases where it is present, we have taken a precautionary approach for the education estate in England to remove RAAC.

[HCWS256]