Parents of children attending Yorkshire school affected by concrete problems praise headteacher as they return

Children arrive at Crossflatts primary in Bradford which has been affected with sub standard reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac). Picture date: Monday September 4, 2023. PA Photo. Money to repair school buildings at risk of collapse will come from the Department for Education's (DfE) existing capital budget, it is understood. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt promised on Sunday to

Thousands of pupils face disruption at the start of term this week following an order to fully or partially close 104 schools because of concerns about collapse-prone reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac).

Parents dropping off children at Crossflatts Primary School in Bingley, West Yorkshire, said they are relieved that all pupils are still being taught on site.

They said it was a shock to hear at the end of last week that their school was one of those affected by the reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) issue, but praised head Nicola Bennett for her “sterling work” in keeping them all informed over the last few days.

Daniel Petty, whose daughter started Year 3 at Crossflatts on Monday, said: “She (the head) has definitely worked for the benefit of kids and the community.

“I can’t fault her for that at all. If we needed anything, she’s certainly done everything she can to acquire what’s needed, especially in this instance.

“The news did come quite late in the day so she’s done really well to secure the funding for the outside classrooms and to make sure that none of the kids have been sent to different schools.

“She’s done a sterling job.”

Mr Petty added: “Obviously it’s quite shock news to get so late in the six-week holidays. But now we know that they’re back in, the school has been fantastic.

“They really have made the effort to make sure the kids are undisrupted and back to normal for the new school term.”

Scores of children and their parents poured into the school on Monday morning, where the older pupils are facing the start of term in temporary buildings or being taught in the hall.

A number of yellow temporary buildings could be seen around the main school building.

Outside Crossflatts Primary School in Bingley, West Yorkshire, parent Mohammad Ali said it is a relief that all the children are back despite the reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) issues.

Mr Ali said: “We’re happy because the kids are very happy and have been looking forward to coming back to school after six weeks.

“The school has told us all the problems and has kept us informed.”

He added: “We had a hard time in Covid because the kids were at home for two years – so this is not a big issue yet because they’ve solved the problems.”

One mother, who did not want to be identified, said: “They’ve just closed down sections and are using Portakabins, and they’re using the hall too.

“We’re as happy as we can be with the situation. It’s not the school’s fault and it’s just a relief that they’re back in.”

Another mother said: “The head has done an amazing job keeping everyone informed.

“And we’ve got WhatsApp groups for each year, which has meant everything has gone as smooth as it can realistically.

“I think it would’ve been a different matter if kids had had to be taken to a different school or taught at home. Let’s just be thankful for that.”