In recent days there has been extensive media coverage around the potential safety issues of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) in school buildings. With the new school term starting next week here is an update on the situation and the picture in Knowsley.
What is RAAC?
RAAC is a lightweight form of concrete used in schools, colleges and other building construction from the 1950s until the mid-1990s.
What has changed to spark this recent concern?
Nationally, buildings containing RAAC have been monitored since 2018 and inspections carried out across schools.
This week however, the Government has announced a change in its approach to managing buildings that contain RAAC. Specifically, they have advised education settings (schools, colleges and maintained nursery schools) to vacate all spaces or buildings that are known to contain this material, unless there are already mitigations in place to make the building safe.
Nationally, this could result in a number of schools not being able to open fully for the start of the new term.
What is the position in Knowsley?
We are not aware of any Knowsley school building closures relating to the presence of RAAC.
Many schools in Knowsley were built as part of the PFI Building Schools for the Future programme which commenced in 2007. As these, and any other new build primary schools, were constructed after RAAC was used, these are not impacted.
The Council has inspected all of the other school buildings it is responsible for – in line with the DFE guidelines – and found no issues.
Archdiocese / Diocese controlled schools or those that are part of Academy Trusts have been inspected by their relevant governing body. From the information provided to the Council, these inspections have been completed.