Which schools are closing? Government orders more than 100 closures over RAAC

This week sees children across the country returning to school, as the summer holidays end. However, thousands of pupils will face disruption as their schools remain closed due to dangers of aerated concrete.

On Thursday (August 31) the government ordered more than 100 schools, colleges, and nurseries across England to immediately close their buildings over health and safety concerns.

Treasury officials have since stated that money for repairs will come from the Department for Education's (DfE) current capital budget and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has rushed to reassure parents that the Government would “spend what it takes” to fix the issue.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan revealed that the decision was made after “new evidence” was discovered about a material used in the construction of these buildings.

Here is everything that has been publicly shared about why so many schools are being shut down, which schools are due to be affected, and how students will be impacted.

Why are schools closing?

The Government has decided to close more than 100 education buildings that have been built using concrete prone to collapse — the material is known as reinforced with autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

Schools with this material have been told they have to introduce new safety measures to make sure students are safe.

The Government hasn’t outlined a timeline for replacing the RAAC.

The decision was made after a National Audit Office study in June revealed that the risk of injury or death from a school building collapse was “very likely and critical” in buildings that contained RAAC.

Which schools are closing?

The National Audit Office found that 572 schools were likely to contain RAAC. Of these, 156 were confirmed to have it.

However, 52 schools had already put safety mitigations in place, so only 104 buildings have received the order.

Thus far, the Government hasn’t revealed a full list of all the schools that have been affected by the order. But it has advised that the schools and other education settings that are impacted will let families know at the start of the term.

List of schools closing or partially closing

Below is a list of schools affected:

  • Willowbrook Mead Primary Academy in Leicester — Parents have been told to send their children to two different schools and older pupils were asked to home-school.

  • Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School in Brixton, south London —The school said in a statement the juniors will be relocated to a nearby area.

  • Crossflats Primary School in Bradford — The school has been partially closed according to Bradford Council.

  • Eldwick Primary School in Bradford — Bradford Council confirmed the school will be partially closed.

  • Ferryhill School in County Durham — The secondary school is said to have a delayed start to the new academic year, according to an email sent to parents. They are expected to start a week late, with classes being taken online.

  • St Gregory’s Catholic Science College in Brent — The secondary school is reportedly trying to get portable cabins in place after risky lightweight concrete was identified in their buildings.

  • Kingsdown School, Southend-on-Sea

  • Baynards Primary School, Essex

  • Thurstable School, Essex

  • Springfield Primary School, Chelmsford

  • Winter Gardens Academy, Essex

  • Scalby School, Scarborough

  • Cockermouth School, Cumbria

  • St Leonard’s Catholic School, Durham

  • Hadleigh High School, Suffolk

  • Farlingaye High School, Woodbridge, Suffolk

  • Claydon High School, Suffolk

  • Honywood School, Colchester, Essex

  • Jerounds Primary School, Harlow, Essex

  • Katherine’s Primary Academy, Harlow, Essex

  • Clacton County High School, Essex

  • East Tilbury Primary School, Thurrock, Essex

  • Buckhurst Hill Community Primary School, Essex

  • Thameside Primary School, Essex

  • East Bergholt High School, Colchester, Essex

  • The Billericay School, Essex

  • The Appleton School, Essex

  • Woodville Primary School, Chelmsford, Essex

  • Arthur Bugler Primary School, Thurrock, Essex

  • Buckhurst Hill Community Primary School, Essex

  • The Coopers’ Company and Coburn School, Essex

  • The Gilberd School, Colchester, Essex

  • St Andrew’s Junior School, Hatfield Peverel, Essex

  • Hockley Primary School, Essex

  • Ramsey Academy, Halstead, Essex

  • Ravens Academy, Clacton-On-Sea, Essex

  • Roding Valley High School, Loughton, Essex

  • Mayflower Primary School, Leicester

  • Parks Primary School, Leicester

  • Northampton International Academy, Northampton

  • Aston Manor Academy, Birmingham

  • Aylesford School, Warwick

  • Wood Green Academy, Wednesbury, West Midlands — Some classrooms will be closed until October.

  • Donnington Wood Infants School, Telford, Shropshire

  • Myton School, Warwick, Warwickshire

  • Outwoods Primary School, Atherstone, North Warwickshire

  • Pershore High School, Worcestershire

  • St Bede’s Catholic School and Byron Sixth Form College, Peterlee, County Durham

  • St Anne’s Catholic Primary School, Harlow Green, Newcastle upon Tyne

  • St Benet’s Catholic Primary School, Ouston, Newcastle upon Tyne

  • Ferryhill School, County Durham

  • St James Catholic Primary School, Hebburn, South Tyneside

  • St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School, Darlington

  • Carmel College, Darlington

  • Abbey Lane Primary School, Sheffield — A temporary kitchen has been installed.

  • Eldwick Primary School, Bingley — Bradford Council has said that access to areas of the school where RAAC is present is prohibited.

  • Crossflatts Primary School in Bingley, near Bradford

  • Scalby School, Scarborough — The school is not reopening until September 11 and there is expected to be a mix of face-to-face and online home learning. Significant parts of the school are affected and have been taken out of use.

  • St Thomas More Catholic Comprehensive, Eltham, London

  • Corpus Christi Catholic School in Brixton, London — Junior school pupils are being relocated to a temporary location after RAAC was found in a roof, a statement from August 18 said.

  • The Ellen Wilkinson School, London — The science block, old gym, the hall, and canteen are being vacated and students may need to bring packed lunches for a short period, according to the i newspaper and BBC News. The school remains open.

  • Cockermouth School, Cumbria

  • St Bernard’s School, Bolton, Greater Manchester — The school will open on September 7, but only if safety work is completed in time, otherwise it could reopen on September 11.

  • Our Lady’s Catholic High School, Preston, Lancashire

  • Cranbourne College in Basingstoke, Hampshire

  • St Francis Catholic Primary School in Ascot, Berkshire

  • St Clere’s School, Stanford-le-Hope, Essex

  • Greenway Junior School, Horsham

How will closures affect students?

Talking about the closures’ impact on students, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan explained: “We must take a cautious approach because that is the right thing to do for both pupils and staff.

“The plan we have set out will minimise the impact on pupil learning and provide schools with the right funding and support they need to put mitigations in place to deal with RAAC.”

Children who study in schools that have RAAC buildings may be moved into temporary classrooms and learning spaces.

What is RAAC and when was it used?

The material, known as reinforced with autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), is a lightweight material. The Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) has noted that: “Although called ’concrete’, (RAAC) is very different from traditional concrete and, because of the way in which it was made, much weaker.

“RAAC was used in schools, colleges, and other building construction from the 1950s until the mid-1990s. It may therefore be found in any school and college building (educational and ancillary) that was either built or modified in this time period.”

Visit the Government site to find out further information.