Members will be aware that around 100 schools in England have been forced to close to some degree due to the presence of a form of concrete known as reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).
This is a form of lightweight concrete that was used in buildings between the mid-1950s and the mid-1990s, primarily in roofs.
The Department for Education (DfE) has taken the decision to order all schools with confirmed RAAC to stop using the affected areas until they are made safe.
The potential dangers of RAAC have been known for some time and the NASUWT has been pressing the DfE to be more proactive in dealing with the issue for many months.
Although the Union supports the decision that has been taken, it should never have come to this if the Government had properly invested in the school estate or taken the required steps when the problems first became apparent.
It should be stressed that this affects a relatively small number of schools in England - the vast majority do not contain any RAAC.
If your school is one that is affected, arrangements should be put in place to ensure continuity of education for pupils. However, the impact on staff must also be considered with regard to:
increased/new travelling requirements;
teaching without a permanent base - see Teachers Without a Permanent Classroom Base;
remote learning - Arrangements for Remote Teaching and Learning.
If you have any concerns around the response of your school, please contact the NASUWT for further guidance/support.
If you are not informed that your school is affected, then it is highly likely that it does not contain RAAC, particularly if it was built outside the specified timeframe.
If you are concerned, however, you should raise this with your NASUWT Representative or school management to ascertain the situation.
Again, if you have any concerns that are not resolved, please contact the NASUWT for further guidance/support.
In addition to the schools with confirmed RAAC, there are a number that will have suspected RAAC and are awaiting a visit from the DfE surveyor to confirm it.
The DfE has now published the full list of schools affected by RAAC, but the NASUWT is continuing to monitor the situation, which includes pressing the Government to ensure that sufficient guidance, support and assistance with the financial implications of the presence of RAAC in your school is provided.
Again, if you have any concerns, raise these with your NASUWT Representative or school management and contact the NASUWT for further support should your concerns not be addressed.
Local Secretaries, Workplace Representatives and Health & Safety Representatives in Scotland have been given advice and information from the Scotland National Centre on RAAC, including weekly updates from the Scottish Government on the developing situation.
Any member in Scotland who wishes to obtain further information should contact the Scotland National Centre directly.
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