Concrete scandal: London council signs off £715k for school repairs amid fears town halls will bear cost

Scaffolding is seen outside classrooms as repair work continues at Hornsey School for Girls  (Getty Images)
Scaffolding is seen outside classrooms as repair work continues at Hornsey School for Girls (Getty Images)

Town hall chiefs fear council tax payers could be left bearing the brunt of the cost of the school concrete scandal after a London borough was forced to sign off £715,000 from its budget to pay for emergency safety works.

Haringey council ordered repairs to start at Hornsey School for Girls when crumbling RAAC concrete was found in classroom roofs, science laboratories and in the performing arts block in June.

Some of the panels had “deteriorated to an extent that remedial action is required within three to six months”, the council said.

Emergency funding totaling £715,848 was signed off by the local authority in July to ensure teaching could continue this term. The secondary has delayed opening this week and will stagger years groups starting this month.

Council officers said: “There have been several discussions with the Department of Education regarding the funding of the works relating to deteriorated RAAC. These discussions are ongoing.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan on Monday said there will be no new money to fix problems, but the costs will be covered by the Department for Education.

She conceded it may cost “many millions of pounds” as some schools will have to be rebuilt.

Unions have been angered by uncertainty about which costs will be covered by central Government, calling for transparency on whether headteachers will be reimbursed for funding temporary classrooms.

At least least eight London schools have delayed opening, or have closed parts of their buildings, to students on Monday over the scandal.

Ms Keegan said about 1,500 schools are yet to return surveys which asses whether their buildings contain crumbling concrete, sparking fears even more institutions could be affected.

The other London schools impacted include: Corpus Christi Catholic School in Brixton, St Mary Magdalene and St Stephen’s CE Primary School in Westminster, Cleeve Park School in Sidcup, St Gregory’s Science College in Brent and the Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls in Acton.

The Government is expected to publish a full list of schools affected this week.