A failure by the government to be able to provide basic details on the crumbling concrete crisis in schools has been branded “shocking and disappointing” by MPs, as they warned about the “alarming” state of classroom buildings.
The head of the influential Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said an “absolute catastrophe” had been “averted through sheer luck”.
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The watchdog said it was “extremely concerning” Education Secretary Gillian Keegan’s department did not have a good enough understanding of the risks across school buildings to “keep children and staff safe”.
The cross-party group also warned “unacceptable numbers of pupils are learning in poorly maintained or potentially unsafe buildings” and this was harming their education.
The criticism was levelled by the committee in its The Condition Of School Buildings report, which focused on the serious problems caused by unsafe reinforced autoclaved concrete (RAAC).
Just days before the return from the summer holidays, more than 100 schools, nurseries, and colleges in England were told by the UK government to close classrooms and other buildings that contained the collapse-prone material.
Schools in ‘dire need of help’
The committee said the Department for Education (DfE) was unable to tell its inquiry how many surveys to identify RAAC were outstanding, how many temporary classrooms had been provided to schools affected by the crisis, or say when the issues with the concrete type would be addressed.
Its report recommended the department urgently complete its programme of specialist surveys where RAAC is suspected to establish the full extent of the…
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This notice was published: 2023-11-19 07:16:00
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