RAAC school closures: the Birmingham & West Midlands schools affected by unsafe concrete

A number of schools are at risk of being fully or partially closed due to the dangers of RAAC, including two in the West Midlands region

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A number of schools across the country have confirmed that they will close due to safety concerns ahead of the start of a new term this week, amid pressure on the government to release the full list of institutions affected by a dangerous type of concrete that puts buildings at “risk of collapse”.

More than 100 schools in England have been found to be at risk as they have been built with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) - a material which was used to construct schools, colleges, and other buildings between the 1960s to 1990s, and which only has a life expectancy of around three decades.

A total of 156 schools across the country have been notified by the government about the dangers and risks of the material, in a move that could potentially threaten the re-opening of schools this September. Pupils could be forced to resume their lessons online, or schools will have to find temporary facilities.

Of the 156, just 52 schools have been supported to put mitigations in place this year so far, such as through additional funding for alternative classrooms and buildings. The children at these schools will receive face to face learning.

The West Midlands schools affected

Two schools in the region are included in the list to close in some capacity this week due to safety concerns.

They are:

  • Aston Manor Academy, Birmingham - mix of face-to-face and remote arrangements
  • Wood Green Academy, Wednesbury, West Midlands - some classrooms will be closed until October
  • Ark Boulton Academy, Birmingham - start of term delayed
  • Prince Albert Junior and Infant School - Aston - start of term has been delayed
  • Brandhall Primary School, Oldbury - All pupils are in face-to-face education

What has the education secretary said?

The education secretary, Gillian Keegan, has announced that the government will soon begin disclosing the names of the schools affected by the order, as teaching unions have called the back-to-school chaos a “scandal.”

Ministers however are yet to release the full list, claiming they want schools to notify parents first. But some institutions have already publicly confirmed they are affected.

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