Nottinghamshire RAAC: Two schools have potential problems with failing concrete

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Two schools in Nottinghamshire have issues with dangerous concrete, county council says.

Two schools in Nottinghamshire have been identified as potentially having problems linked to failing concrete, the county council says.

On Thursday (August 31) building safety fears led the Department for Education to order more than a hundred schools across England to close just before the start of the September term.

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The decision followed surveys which revealed concerns over buildings which had been constructed using reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete, or RAAC.

Checks have shown some school buildings are at risk of collapse as the material deteriorates.

Carnarvon Primary School in Bingham requires further checks while Holy Trinity primary school in Newark has identified issues on site.

Nottinghamshire County Council says it is not aware of any schools which have concrete causing enough concern for them to be shut next week – but did say the two schools in the area need further work.

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A spokeswoman for the authority said: “We are aware that Carnarvon Primary School in Bingham, which is maintained by the council, still requires some further routine checks.

“Initial survey work there has not identified any immediate issues. This further work will be undertaken as a priority, and the school is contacting parents directly to update them.

“We are also aware that Holy Trinity primary school in Newark, which is managed by Our Lady of Lourdes Multi Academy Trust, has identified issues on its site.

“We are informed that the Trust is currently putting in place arrangements to ensure that it opens as planned for the new term next week.”

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However, they added the council is “not aware of any issues across our maintained schools estate which will require the closure or partial closure of a school for the start of school term”.

The National Audit Office has identified 572 schools nationally which may have been built with the material.

So far it has been confirmed in 156 buildings, according to the Department for Education, however it has so far refused to directly name the schools.

Safety work has been conducted on 52 of these buildings already, while 104 are due to be contacted in the coming weeks.

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Nottingham City Council told the Local Democracy Reporting Service it does not believe any of its schools are at risk.

“We don’t think any of our schools are affected but will carry out surveys over the next couple of months,” a council spokesman said.

“None were in the 104 settings announced yesterday by the DfE.”

However, the city council only operates around a third of Nottingham schools, with the remaining settings managed by academies.

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According to the Government, RAAC was used in schools, colleges and other building construction from the 1950s until the mid-1990s.

It can be found in any school and college building that was either built or modified in this time period.

Although called concrete, it is very different from traditional concrete and much weaker.

But the Government says a significant proportion of the school estate was built outside the period where RAAC was used, with 31 per cent built since 2001. 

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The Department for Education said: “We have been pro-actively monitoring all confirmed cases of RAAC closely.

“Recent cases have led to a loss of confidence in buildings containing the material, leading us to advise education settings to vacate all spaces or buildings that are known to contain RAAC, unless they already have mitigations in place to make the building safe.

“We’re working hard to make sure any disruption to education is kept to a minimum.  

“The vast majority of schools will be unaffected. Your child should attend school as normal in September, unless you hear differently.  

“We have spoken to the education settings that are impacted and all of them will now be contacted by a dedicated caseworker who will support them through each step of this process."

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