Amidst the ongoing concerns surrounding reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in schools, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan found herself defending her “ultra-cautious” approach. While accusations of opening a “Pandora’s Box” were hurled at her, it is important to evaluate the situation from a broader perspective.
The decision to close affected schools, which Ms. Keegan opted for, sparked a flurry of updates from various government departments and public bodies. Hospitals, military buildings, and even Parliament faced scrutiny. However, as debates arose, criticism aimed at Ms. Keegan for her chosen course of action reflected the prevailing sentiment within Whitehall.
In response to these criticisms, Ms. Keegan emphasized, “We are being ultra-cautious here – the decision that I’ve made is ultra-cautious, to make sure that we survey all of the schools as quickly as possible.” Downing Street echoed this sentiment, highlighting the importance of prioritizing safety.
Finally, after much anticipation, the government published a list of approximately 150 schools that were identified as potentially having hazardous concrete. Consequently, numerous schools have transitioned to remote learning or experienced delays in the start of the term. Four schools have entirely adopted remote learning, while an additional 20 have partially made the switch. Furthermore, 19 schools have had to postpone the commencement of the term altogether.
While the cautionary measures implemented by Ms. Keegan may seem extreme to some, it is crucial to remember that ensuring the safety of students and faculty remains paramount. The complex and evolving nature of the RAAC concrete issue calls for a comprehensive approach to mitigate any potential risks. By promptly surveying affected schools, we can better understand the full extent of the problem and take appropriate action.
Q: What is RAAC concrete?
A: RAAC stands for reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete, a type of lightweight concrete that is strong, durable, and fire-resistant.
Q: Why did schools close due to RAAC concrete?
A: There were concerns about the structural integrity of RAAC concrete used in schools. As a precautionary measure, closures were ordered to assess and address any potential risks.
Q: How many schools were affected?
A: Around 150 schools were identified as potentially having dangerous concrete.
Q: What actions were taken by the schools?
A: Some schools switched entirely to remote learning, while others partially adopted remote learning. Additionally, a number of schools had to delay the start of the term.