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Primary School in Ash Impacted by RAAC Crisis – But Classes Are Unaffected

Published on: 11 Sep, 2023
Updated on: 13 Sep, 2023

By David Reading

Shawfield Primary School in Ash is one of the 147 schools in England at the centre of the alert over potentially unsafe RAAC concrete.

Some schools throughout the country have been told to close or partially close because it is considered their buildings are at risk of collapse.

The school hall at Shawfield has a small amount of RAAC but the classrooms are unaffected and the school remains open.

RAAC – or Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete – is potentially dangerous lightweight building material used in some public buildings since the 1960s.

Shawfield School

A statement from the school said: “We can confirm that Shawfield Primary has a small amount of RAAC present in the school hall and we have been working closely with Surrey County Council and the DfE to ensure an appropriate plan was in place before children returned to school. We have put mitigations in place to ensure the hall can be used safely and this has been verified by the DfE and independently by structural surveyors.  

“Children have attended school this week as normal.

“Our absolute priority is to keep children and staff safe, and to ensure there is no impact to the children’s education.”

Surrey County Council said the remedial work required at Shawfield was to provide enhanced bearings to the RAAC planks by installing additional structural steelwork. The work took seven days to complete, at a cost of around £30,000.

Clare Curran, SCC Cabinet Member for Education and Learning, said:We are not aware of any schools in Surrey that have been told to shut immediately due to RAAC. “We are working with other responsible bodies to determine whether more schools in Surrey are impacted by the government’s announcement. Parents and carers will be informed directly by their school if there is any impact.

“Our absolute priority is to keep children and staff safe, and to help children access full time education.”

There are two other schools in Surrey on the DfE list – St Paul’s Catholic Primary School in Thames Ditton and Danetree Primary School in West Ewell. Both schools remain open.

Danetree was told to close its Year 3 block just before the September term started. Year 3 classes were relocated elsewhere within the school, which opened as planned last week.

Structural work at St Paul’s was undertaken during the summer holidays and the school was opened.

Last week the government released a list of 147 schools in England that have RAAC within their buildings. It is thought the number could grow as inspections are carried out.

From the list, 19 schools have delayed the start of term, with some doing online remote learning.

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