Education chiefs in Devon ‘don’t believe’ their schools are at risk of RAAC concrete collapse

Education chiefs in Devon ‘don’t believe’ any schools under their care are at risk of concrete collapse amid the RAAC crisis.

School buildings in parts of Devon have in recent days been checked for a type of concrete – known as RAAC – which has forced some schools across the country to close amid safety fears, writes local democracy reporter Guy Henderson.

A spokesperson for Devon County Council said: “We have worked with the Department for Education on this process and don’t believe that any schools for which we are responsible have been affected, nor have we received any feedback from other responsible bodies regarding their buildings.”

A Plymouth City Council said it had carried out surveys of all 14 of its local-authority-maintained schools – finding ‘none contains RAAC’.

A spokesperson for the Plymouth authority said: “Academies and multi-academy trusts are responsible for their own school buildings and school leaders will have been contacted by the Department for Education about this issue earlier in the year.

“We have not been notified that any schools in Plymouth are affected by RAAC, but we have contacted chief executives of academies and headteachers to confirm that relevant checks have taken place and offer support if needed.”

The Government said 156 school buildings nationwide have been built using reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete, known as RAAC, and 52 risk sudden collapse.

Action has been taken to make them safe, in some cases by propping up the concrete.

The Department for Education has so far declined to say which schools are affected, but believes the remaining 104 were safe for children to be in.

However, the Government has now discovered cases where low-risk RAAC turned out to be unsafe, and in one school a beam collapsed.

Dozens may have to close, and the BBC reports hundreds more schools are yet to conclude whether or not they include RAAC.

Its findings from a June report by the National Audit Office says 572 schools have been identified where RAAC might be present.

Engineers have been carrying out surveys to work out where the problems are.

Finding out which schools are affected is complicated by the fact that many schools or the trusts that run them are responsible for their buildings, rather than local authorities.

The Government has still not published the list of schools affected, but it claims it will.

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