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Schools: Buildings

Question for Department for Education

UIN 190163, tabled on 19 June 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what criteria her Department uses to determine whether a school should close following the discovery of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete.

Answered on

3 July 2023

The safety of pupils and staff is vital. The Department has work in progress with schools to identify and manage Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC).

It is the responsibility of those who run schools to manage the safety and maintenance of their schools. This is typically academy trusts, Local Authorities, and voluntary aided school bodies .They should alert the Department if there is a serious concern with a building.

In cases where RAAC is confirmed and if it poses an immediate risk to occupants, Responsible Bodies are advised to take spaces out of use with immediate effect, based on the professional advice of structural engineers. Decisions to close one or more buildings at a school are made by the school’s Responsible Body.

The Department has been talking to schools about the potential risks of RAAC since 2018 when it first published a warning note with the Local Government Association.

Since then, the Department has published guidance in identifying and managing RAAC and has asked all Local Authorities, academy trusts, and other bodies responsible for schools to share their knowledge of RAAC, its presence in their buildings, and how they are managing it.

The Department will continue to work with responsible bodies, schools, and colleges to support them through the process of investigation, assessment, and management of RAAC.

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