Mary Glindon MP quizzes Rishi Sunak over North Tyneside schools disrupted by concrete-related concerns

Mary Glindon MP has represented North Tyneside since 2010.
Mary Glindon MP has represented North Tyneside since 2010. -Credit:Craig Connor/ChronicleLive

A North Tyneside MP has urged Rishi Sunak to find extra cash for schools in her constituency afflicted with concrete-related problems.

Mary Glindon asked the Prime Minister to ensure the Department for Education (DfE) will provide additional funding to repair and restore several local schools disrupted by non-RAAC-related concrete issues. A ceiling collapse at Fordley Primary School in Annitsford in December last year sparked structural inspections and disruption across three other schools which used similar construction methods.

The three other schools include Hazlewood Community Primary School, Churchill Community College and Grasmere Academy, a school not maintained by the North Tyneside Council. The local authority’s Labour administration has previously called on the DfE to find the funding for long and short-term solutions, alongside shadow schools minister and Newcastle North MP, Catherine McKinnell.

In the commons, Mary Glindon MP said: “The costs of putting these schools right significantly outweighs the £3.5m SCA [school condition allocations] fund for all of North Tyneside. Will the Prime Minister ensure the DfE applies the policy that if it is alerted to significant issues with a building that cannot be managed with local resources it will provide additional support on a case-by-case basis?”

The PM responded: “Mr Speaker, I thank the honourable lady for raising the case. As she knows the Department for Education has provided extensive support and funding to all those schools that had RAAC, which in the end was less than 1% that could have been affected. And more generally given the very significant amounts are investing in school rebuilding and maintenance, I am sure the Education Secretary will have heard her concerns and will write to her in due course.”

The source of the schools' structural concerns lies with the "hollow concrete block and plank" construction method, commonly used in the 1960s. The concrete blocks were also found to be made from a weak and brittle concrete mix which is susceptible to cracking.

The construction method is no longer used in the UK.