Gillian Keegan admits there could be ‘hundreds more’ schools affected by RAAC

RAAC: Gillian Keegan says number of schools affected to increase

The Education Secretary has admitted that hundreds more schools in England could be beset with crumbling concrete.

Speaking on the BBC this morning, Gillian Keegan said around 1,500 schools are yet to return their surveys detailing discovery of RAAC – around 10 percent of the nation’s 15,000 schools.

She said that the “vast majority” of surveys show now RAAC in schools, but admitted hundreds of those 1,500 could contain the potentially dangerous building material.

Nick Robinson pointed out “there are 1,500 schools where parents may be sending their kids to school where you can’t tell them it’s safe, the head can’t tell them it’s safe, because no survey has been done”.

Mrs Keegan said the Government is being overly cautious in getting to grips with the crisis, and is going “over and above” official recommendations.

READ MORE: New school term in chaos after concrete scandal leaves pupils in the lurch

“If you go through the numbers that I’ve said, of the 90 percent that have come back only 1 percent of them have RAAC, so if you wanted to try and give an order of magnitude we’re talking much less than that”.

Mr Robinson did the maths for Today listeners and clarified that meant 150 schools may have RAAC despite not having completed surveys.

There are also 450 schools suspected to be containing RAAC but may not be checked until December.

The Education Secretary said they will now all be inspected “in the next two weeks”, after an increase in the number of building surveyors.

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This morning, former permanent secretary of the Department for Education, its highest ranking civil servant, told the Today Programme that Mr Sunak massively cut the number of schools being rebuilt as Chancellor.

Jonathan Slater said a survey of schools in 2020 found that 300-400 were in need of repair or complete rebuilding, but Mr Sunak’s Treasury only agreed to rebuild around one third.

He said: “It’s frustrating of course when for you the most important thing is the priority to be given to safety.

“If the Treasury have got a concern that there’s never enough money for everything but we were able to send them really good data.

“We weren’t just saying there’s a significant risk of fatality, we were saying there’s a critical risk to life if this programme isn’t funded.

“While I was permanent secretary in 2018, a concrete block fell from the roof of a primary school. So it wasn’t just a risk, it was actually starting to happen. So it was frustrating.”

Ms Keegan said three incidents over the summer where RAAC had “failed” caused the last-minute move by the Government, sparking chaos for thousands of parents.

She said the Government has spent £15billion on capital spending on schools since 2015.

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