Statement on RAAC concrete in some Kent school buildings

KCC has issued a statement to update parents about the pro-active work undertaken by the County Council to identify and mitigate incidences of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) in some school buildings.

Rory Love, the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “There is understandably some increased anxiety over the use of this material following recent press reports.

“There are no Kent schools of which we have been made aware by the Department for Education (DfE) that appear on the DfE's latest list of schools needing to be closed to children owing to the presence of RAAC. Where RAAC is present and work is underway as detailed below, alternative arrangements have been made within the schools, and the schools remain open to children.

“Over the course of the summer the DfE indicated that further information had come to light regarding the performance of the RAAC material which meant it had taken the difficult decision to go further than the previous guidance that was issued by the Institution of Structural Engineers earlier this year. As a result, the DfE notified any responsible body where RAAC has been confirmed as being present to close the affected areas with immediate effect until mitigation works have been undertaken.

“Kent does have seven schools where RAAC has been positively confirmed to date. In six schools, the affected areas were taken out of use before the summer in accordance with the direction of the DfE. I am pleased to confirm that works have progressed well on these schools over the summer period.

“It is understood that the seventh school was already working with the DfE and has put arrangements in place that will enable the school to operate using temporary accommodation and alternative parts of the school.

“Therefore, all schools that were identified as containing RAAC will be opening for face-to-face teaching at the start of the new academic year; a key priority for this Council.”

The seven schools are as follows:

  • Palmarsh Primary
  • St James Church of England Primary, Tunbridge Wells
  • Sunnybank Primary, Sittingbourne
  • Godinton Primary, Ashford
  • St Bartholomew’s Catholic Primary School, Swanley
  • Birchington Church of England Primary
  • King Ethelbert Secondary School, Thanet.
Headshot of KCC cabinet member Rory Love

I can confirm that all school sites for which KCC is responsible and which had a high and medium risk of containing RAAC have now been inspected.

Rory Love Rory Love, the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Mr Love continued: “I can confirm that all school sites for which KCC is responsible and which had a high and medium risk of containing RAAC have now been inspected. Inspections continue at the lower risk sites. No further RAAC has been identified to date. The primary communication channel for information for parents about any alternative arrangements if further cases of RAAC are identified will be directly between the school and the parents.

“With regard to the schools for which KCC is not the responsible body, such as academies and voluntary-aided schools, KCC has written to all responsible bodies to remind them of the importance to undertake their own due diligence and complete the DfE RAAC questionnaire.

“As part of this, we have also offered support to the wider family of Kent schools if needed.

“Overall, the safety of our schools and those using them continues to be our top priority. I remain committed to take swift action where needed, just as we did in June, when a number of schools across the County were required to close at short notice and were able to reopen with temporary arrangements in four days to enable pupils to be back in class.”