Government confirms removal of RAAC from affected schools

There are 234 education settings, out of 22,000, with confirmed RAAC in some areas of their buildings – around 1%. 119 of these schools will have one or more buildings rebuilt or refurbished through the School Rebuilding Programme where works to remove RAAC are more extensive or complex. Additionally 110 schools and colleges will benefit from grant funding to remove RAAC from their buildings where works will typically be smaller in scale. 5 schools and colleges, with support from the Department, have alternative arrangements in place to address the removal of RAAC, for example the building will not be part of the school or college estate over the longer term. Those responsible for affected school and college buildings are receiving direct confirmation from the department on how the RAAC removal will be funded.

Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, said, “Nothing is more important to me than the safety of every child and member of staff in school. We will continue to work closely with schools and colleges as we take the next step to permanently remove RAAC from affected buildings. I want to thank all schools, colleges and local authorities who have worked tirelessly with the department to ensure all children remain in face-to-face education.”

The DfE’s RAAC Identification programme is now complete as 100% of schools and colleges with blocks built in the target era have responded to the questionnaire. All schools or colleges that advised them they suspect they might have RAAC have had a survey to confirm if RAAC is present. A small number of schools and colleges are carrying out additional checks for further assurance in some spaces. The DfE is working with responsible bodies to support them to complete these additional checks as quickly as possible.

In addition to the 119 schools with confirmed RAAC included in the School Rebuilding Programme, the DfE has confirmed that a further 8 schools without RAAC have also been added to the programme. The projects announced take the total number of schools in the programme to 513. The ten-year School Rebuilding Programme is continuing to prioritise school buildings with the highest condition need across England through rebuilding or significantly refurbishing buildings.

The Government has already confirmed it will fund schools and colleges for the costs of work needed to mitigate the presence of RAAC. The latest announcement provides certainty for individual schools or colleges in England on how the Government will support the removal of RAAC from their buildings. The DfE priority will always be to ensure the safety of pupils and staff, which is why they took a cautious approach for schools and colleges. Although the technical advice does not recommend removal in all cases where it is present, the approach has been precautionary for the education estate in England to remove RAAC.

£1.8 billion has already been committed in capital funding this year to support schools to stay in good working order, as part of £15 billion allocated since 2015. The School Rebuilding Programme will transform over 500 schools over the next decade. A further £1.5 billion has been made available for colleges through the further education capital transformation fund.

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