RAAC: Council issues update on crumbling concrete in Bristol schools
Council bosses appear to have been aware of the crumbling concrete scandal
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Contractors working for Bristol City Council surveyed schools seven months ago for crumbling concrete but did not find any reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).
All council-run schools in the city are free of RAAC, but some Bristol academies still need inspecting.
Council bosses appear to have been aware of the crumbling concrete scandal — which has forced the sudden closure of many other schools elsewhere in the country — at least as early as February, when they sent survey results of local schools to the Department for Education.
Labour Councillor Asher Craig, deputy mayor responsible for education, sought to reassure parents that no council-run schools were affected, during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, September 5. She added the council will work with other schools to ensure their safety.
Cllr Craig said: “This scandal once again highlights the lack of investment we’ve seen nationally over the last decade in education. Some schools in Bristol were among the very last ones in the UK to be rebuilt by Labour’s Building Schools for the Future programme, which the coalition government cancelled.
“Despite us sending information to the DfE at the start of the year, the best time for the government to begin to announce the scale of the problem was not two days before… was two days before the start of a new school term. Not before the school term, but just before the end of the summer holidays.
“Thankfully in Bristol we’re not aware of any local authority maintained schools with RAAC. We’ll continue to work with other educational settings to ensure that their buildings are further inspected and made safe if that is required.”
Academy schools in Bristol are outside of the council’s control, but submitted their own survey data to the government earlier this year. The Department for Education indicated that some Bristol academies need “further specialist inspection”, according to a previous statement from the council, as data suggests that RAAC could be present in their buildings. It’s unclear which ones are affected.
Mayor Marvin Rees said: “13 years of the government and kids are in schools that are falling down around them. Not only that, the can’s been kicked down the road so the cost of taking care of that challenge is higher than it would otherwise have been with a steady, planned-out pathway of investment into the facilities that we make available for our young people.
“Now we face the additional cost on top of that of the disruption to those young people’s education, after Covid disruptions as well. In contrast to that we’re getting stuff done here in Bristol.”