School buildings: ‘Absolute catastrophe averted through sheer luck’

School buildings in England have deteriorated to the point where 700,000 pupils are learning in a school that needs major rebuilding or refurbishment.
Image: Adobe Stock - Image: Adobe Stock

A damning report from the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts has heavily criticised the Department for Education (DfE), which it concludes “does not have a good enough understanding of safety risks across school buildings for it to fully quantify and mitigate these risks and keep children and staff in schools safe”.

The report continues: “This includes an understanding of how reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), which may lead to a sudden building collapse, has been used alongside asbestos, which we have raised as a concern for several years.”

Chair of the committee Dame Meg Hillier MP said this week that images of collapsed classroom ceilings which have been circulating in recent months are “chilling reminders of absolute catastrophe averted through sheer luck”.

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