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Schools and Colleges Update

Statement made on 19 September 2023

Statement UIN HCWS1045


This update follows from my oral statement to the House on 4 September.

On 6 September we published the list of 147 education settings known to be affected by RAAC. Thanks to the hard work of school and college leaders, all of these settings are offering face-to-face education, with 126 settings offering full time face-to-face education for all pupils.

An updated list of schools and colleges with confirmed cases of RAAC has been published today. As of 14 September, a further 27 settings have confirmed RAAC in some of their buildings. Of the 174 confirmed cases, 148 settings are providing full time face-to-face education for all pupils.

Last year, we issued a questionnaire to responsible bodies for all 22,000 schools and colleges in England to ask them to identify whether they suspected they had RAAC. Since 4 September we have been working with responsible bodies to confirm the remaining responses to this questionnaire. Responsible bodies have, as of today, submitted responses to the questionnaire for 98.6% of schools with blocks built in the target era. We are now working through all of these responses, and I continue to encourage all responsible bodies with outstanding responses to send these to the department as soon as possible.

In my 4 September statement I also committed to complete outstanding surveys among schools within a matter of weeks. Due in part to additional surveying capacity we have procured, I can confirm that every school that was awaiting a survey on 4 September has now been visited or will be visited this week.

Every school or college with confirmed RAAC is assigned dedicated support from our team of 80 caseworkers who work with them to assess what support is needed and implement mitigation plans that are right for them. Mitigation plans could include other spaces on the school site, or in nearby schools or elsewhere in the local area, until structural works are carried out or temporary buildings are installed. A bespoke plan is put in place to ensure that each school and college receives the support that suits their circumstances.

Project delivery teams are on site to support schools and colleges, whether that is finding short-term accommodation options or designing and putting in place structural solutions for affected spaces.

The government will fund the emergency mitigation work needed to make buildings safe, including installing alternative classroom space where necessary. Where schools and colleges need additional help with revenue costs, like transport to locations or temporarily renting a local hall, this should be discussed with their caseworker and we expect all reasonable requests will be approved.

The government will fund longer-term refurbishment or rebuilding projects to rectify the RAAC issue. Schools and colleges will either be offered capital grants to fund refurbishment work to permanently remove RAAC, or rebuilding projects where these are needed, including through the School Rebuilding Programme. We will set out further details in due course. We will work closely with responsible bodies to understand and assess what the right solution is for each case.

I want to reassure pupils, parents and staff that this government will do whatever it takes to support our schools and colleges in responding to RAAC and minimise disruption to education.

Linked statements

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords

Department for Education
Schools and Colleges Update
Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for the School System and Student Finance)
Conservative, Life peer
Statement made 19 September 2023