Opinion

Crumbling concrete: The tip of a 440-year iceberg

Schools await clarity about the RAAC crisis. Not to mention a proper long-term investment plan for the school estate. But based on current progress, we will be waiting a long time says Paul Whiteman
Image: Adobe Stock

It was a start of term like no other for scores of school leaders when suddenly children’s return to school was thrown into turmoil by the crumbly concrete crisis.

By September 14, the last date for which figures are available, 174 schools (DfE, 2023) had been left with no option but to prevent access to areas affected by RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete).

The number is likely to grow with every week that passes. Years of neglect and underfunding have brought some parts of the school estate to, literally, the point of collapse without warning.

The experience of the pandemic means schools are no strangers to dealing with the unexpected and to working above and beyond to minimise the impact upon pupils.

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