Monday 15 July 2024
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Nottingham

Report on Nottinghamshire school with dangerous concrete problem published

A new Nottinghamshire County Council report has provided more details on the extent of the dangerous concrete problem in a school in Newark – but confirmed no further issues have been found in any other schools so far.

So far reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has only been discovered at the Holy Trinity Catholic Voluntary Academy on Boundary Road, Newark.

RAAC is a lightweight form of concrete that was favoured in construction projects from the 1950s to the mid-1990s, but experts say it is susceptible to failure as it deteriorates over time.

Recent checks have shown some school buildings with RAAC are at risk of collapse, and in August the Department for Education (DfE) directed some schools to partially or fully close while work is done to make them safer.

Hundreds of schools across the country, and some public buildings, were affected by the new guidance.

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However, the Holy Trinity Catholic Voluntary Academy, which is run by Our Lady of Lourdes Multi Academy Trust (MAT), is the only setting where RAAC has been deemed a problem in Nottinghamshire and Nottingham city.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s latest report into the problem says: “This affects seven of the classrooms, the kitchen and the hall.

“Initially most of this was previously classed as low to medium risk, and it has only become a significant issue since the recent change in DfE position.

“The MAT is working closely with their DfE case officer to manage the situation and has been offered continuing support from the council.”

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The council says it commissioned the Arc Partnership to conduct surveys into authority-run schools and public buildings.

While its work has only covered its maintained schools estate, the report says it is aware the DfE has been working with academies and voluntary-aided schools to make sure these are safe.

This work identified nine schools where physical surveys were required.

Four surveys have been completed and five are due to be completed.

Further investigation work was required at Carnarvon Primary in Bingham and while an initial visit has been undertaken with no RAAC found, some areas were not accessible to the surveyors at the time.

They are due back to complete the survey soon, the report says.

Councillor Keith Girling, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Asset Management at the county council said: “The safety of our school buildings is vital and so this report is yet another way we want to be transparent about the range of survey work we have carried out behind the scenes working with our maintained schools, in line with government guidance.”

Nottingham City Council has also been given £600,000 by the DfE to help conduct surveys, however, no problems have been found in its maintained schools.

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