FOI confirms schools investigated for RAAC

Investigations into four schools across Liverpool amid the crisis around potentially crumbling concrete are to conclude this week.

It was confirmed by Jonathan Jones, Liverpool Council’s director of education, how a series of schools in the city were being looked at by the Department for Education (DfE) regarding the possible presence of autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in their structures.

A site run by a multi-academy trust (MAT) also had to close off an area to the public owing to concerns over its building work.

The city council has now confirmed the investigations are expected to conclude later this week as a Freedom of Information request has revealed the 17 schools that had to be assessed for RAAC last year.

An answer to a written question submitted to Liverpool Council by former councillor Alan Tormey revealed 17 schools were assessed for the presence of the concrete. A Freedom of Information request submitted to the local authority by the LDRS has confirmed which schools were investigated.

More than a dozen primary schools, a special educational needs site, a nursery and early childhood centre are among those assessed by officials. 

Structural surveys were carried out by Kier Workplace Services in April 2022 at Abercromby Nursery School, Everton Early Childhood Centre, Broadgreen Primary, Fazakerley Primary, Knotty Ash Primary, Monksdown Primary, Norman Pannell, Rice Lane Primary, St Michaels Hamlet Primary, Sudley Juniors, Sudley Infants, Woolton Primary, The Beacon, St Cleopas, St Margaret’s CE Primary, Princes School and Sandfield Park.

RAAC was not identified in any of the 17 sites, but further investigations were carried out at Sudley Juniors, Sandfield Park, Woolton Primary and Monksdown after initial probes took place. After it emerged earlier this month around 100 schools across the UK would be ordered to close their doors on the eve of the new school term after concerns arose regarding the concrete, the DfE confirmed a further 27 schools had been identified nationally.

This did not include sites within Liverpool or the wider city region.

Addressing the council’s cabinet on RAAC, leader Cllr Liam Robinson paid tribute to authority officers for their investigative work. He added: “Thankfully nothing has been found but we will continue to be diligent with how we deal with this issue.”

Liverpool Council is responsible for 61 of the city’s 172 educational settings, with archdiocese and MATs in charge of faith and independent schools. Mr Jones said should any remedial works be required at the sites in Liverpool, costs would be covered by the government. 

Any contingencies would then fall under the city council’s jurisdiction.

Dozens of public buildings are thought to contain RAAC concrete across the UK, including in a hospital in Wales, the Houses of Parliament, and Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

Image: Kerim Eveyik

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