Urgent update on school building safety

Following years of capital funding by this government, we are facing an unfolding crisis in school buildings safety. As you may have heard in the news, the department of Education has suddenly ordered over 100 schools, colleges and nurseries in England to close buildings just before the start of the new Autumn term. This is due to these schools being constructed of a type of concrete that is prone to collapse, known as reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC0, and these schools have no mitigation in place. A much larger number of schools have either identified or suspect the presence of RAAC in their buildings but are awaiting DfE surveys.

In addition to RAAC, the National Audit Office (NAO) recently reported that following years of under-investment, an astonishing 700,000 pupils are learning in a school that needs major rebuilding or refurbishment.

UNISON has been lobbying the government for many months to take action on school building safety and to publish information about at-risk properties, so we are relieved that the issue is finally being taken seriously – but it is scandalous that the government has squandered valuable months hiding this crisis when they should have been fixing dangerous school buildings.

What can I do?

Please take part in our short survey to help us support members who work in schools found to be unsafe, and to campaign for urgent action to address this crisis.

Take the survey

In addition, we have developed a set of questions for you to ask your school leadership to seek assurances about the safety of your workplace:

  1. Do we have reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC in any of our buildings and have we told the Department of Education (DfE)?
  2. If there is RAAC in our buildings, can you tell me where this is, how this is being safely managed and how I should report any concerns?
  3. Did our school respond to the DfE asbestos survey and do we have any in our buildings?
  4. If there is asbestos in our buildings, can you tell me where this is, how this is being safely managed, what plans you have to remove it, and how I should report any concerns?
  5. Are there any other building or safety issues that we need to know about?

If you have any concerns about any responses to these questions, please contact the branch on 01744 676971 or email enquiries@unisonsthelens.org.uk