OPINION - Schools concrete crisis & start of term: The Leader podcast


It’s a nightmare start of term for many pupils heading back to class on Monday - with warnings that over 100 schools, nurseries and colleges in England have been built with ageing concrete leaving buildings at risk of collapse.

Now thousands of children face a return to lockdown-style online learning at home or in temporary cabins.

The new crisis follows years of underinvestment in school infrastructure and follows reports of sewage bubbling up through floors and one classroom baking in over 30C heat.

Now, some headteachers will have to relocate children to other classrooms or temporary cabins after potentially crumbling steel-reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete was found, known as Raac.

The Department for Education, which will fund the work, has not given a timeline for replacing the Raac, and school leaders have called for an “urgent plan” to fix the 1960s-era buildings.

So, how’s it come to this and what now for schools who’ve made it through the trials of learning through the pandemic?

The Leader podcast’s joined by Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, and Billy Huband-Thompson, policy associate for The Centre for Education & Youth.

Listen above, and find us on your Spotify Daily Drive or wherever you stream your podcasts.