Derbyshire County Council says there is no potentially dangerous RAAC concrete in its schools “to the best of its knowledge”

Derbyshire County Council County Hall at Matlock (Photo: LDR)
Derbyshire County Council County Hall at Matlock (Photo: LDR)

The local authority has stated that ‘to the best of its knowledge’ there is no Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete in its council maintained schools in Derbyshire following reports that some schools nationwide were waiting on safety checks after the Government had been warned the RAAC used in some schools could collapse without warning.

A Derbyshire County Council spokesperson said: “To the best of our knowledge, there is no RAAC in local authority maintained schools in Derbyshire.”

The Department for Education was originally alerted in 2019 by the Standing Committee on Structural Safety after the collapse of a roof containing lightweight RAAC which is prone to moisture and susceptible to collapse.

But following more recent reports of a beam collapsing at a school in the country and after an updated alert from the committee that the concrete could fail with “no warning”, it has been reported that some schools in England have been contacted with concerns.

However, no Derbyshire schools are expected to have to temporarily close, unlike others elsewhere in the country which may contain RAAC and may need to undergo safety checks and remedial work, as advised by the Standing Committee on Structural Safety.

The National Audit Office has published a report confirming that the Department for Education issued a questionnaire to schools it believed had a risk of containing RAAC but the Government has stated that some schools still have yet to respond.

A Derby City Council spokesman also said: “The council closely monitors the school buildings for which we are the responsible body.

“Following assessments completed by the council for its maintained schools, our records indicated that we do not have school buildings that contain Reinforced Autoclaved Concrete.

“We are, however, continuing to closely monitor the Department for Education’s latest guidance and information to Local Authorities, and we will continue to work closely with our schools.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has said that 156 schools have been identified to be possibly at risk, and 52 of these have responded, and the remaining will need to do so straightaway.

She added that the Government is working with worried schools to ensure they have contingency plans in place, and the majority of these should still be able to continue with people working on-site.

But a minority of affected schools may need to move some or all of their children for a short period into off-site learning locations, or as a last resport introduce remote learning, according to the Education Secretary.

A full list of affected schools is expected to be released after parents have been informed and after schools have been given time to respond to the situation.