What's happening? The government has published a long-awaited list of education settings in England with collapse-prone reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Racc).
A total of 147 places have been identified by the Department for Education (DfE) – which has set out mitigation measures schools have been forced to take.
It comes after more than 100 schools were ordered to fully or partially shut buildings before the new academic year due to concerns about Raac.
The row over England’s schools dominated Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), where Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer quizzed Rishi Sunak over the crisis and claimed “the cowboys are running the country”.
A list of schools in Scotland with Raac will be published by the end of this week.
Revealed: Full list of schools affected by concrete crisis (Yahoo News UK)
Yahoo News rounds up some of the key developments from the Raac crisis today:
Gillian Keegan’s department ‘gave £1m from schools rebuilding pot to company linked to husband’
Labour has raised concerns about education secretary Gillian Keegan and a potential conflict of interest after it was revealed that a company associated with her husband was awarded a £1 million contract from a schools rebuilding fund.
The Department for Education denied any ministerial involvement in the procurement process of the contracts.
However, shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson argued that the optics do not bode well for Keegan.
Read more: Gillian Keegan’s department ‘gave £1m from schools rebuilding pot to company linked to husband’ (Independent)
Crumbling concrete schools would have been rebuilt under scrapped scheme
A BBC investigation found at least 13 schools now confirmed to have Raac were included in the £55 billion Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme which then-education secretary Michael Gove axed in 2010.
The project was meant to renew every secondary school in England, rebuilding half of them and refurbishing the rest.
Daniel Kebede, general secretary for the National Education Union, claimed there would not be any Raac in a single secondary school in England if the programme had continued.
DfE accused of covering up crumbling concrete at school
The government has faced allegations of concealing evidence for several months regarding collapsing concrete at a school in Scotland.
The DfE had dispatched health and safety experts to investigate the decay of aerated concrete in the building of the privately run Queen Victoria School, in Perthshire, back in May.
But Scottish government sources claim they only found out about this last Thursday, and the DfE has refused to send them the expert evidence it collected.
Read more: DfE accused of covering up crumbling concrete at Scottish school for months (The Guardian)
Some schools with crumbling concrete may have to be demolished
Some experts have warned that English schools found to have Raac may have to be demolished.
Remedial work in some education settings containing Raac could be complicated due to asbestos issues.
According to Steve McSorely, director of structural engineering consultancy Perega, it may be better to demolish a school and construct a new one in severe instances.
Read more: Some schools with crumbling concrete may have to be demolished, experts warn (Independent)
Hospitals warned to be ready for evacuation
As the scale of crisis engulfing schools becomes more apparent, attention has turned to other public buildings which may be suffering from the same problem.
As a result, nurses have urged NHS bosses to share emergency plans following reports Trust chiefs have received a letter from NHS England mentioning that 27 sites were found to have Raac.
Hospitals have been advised to prepare plans including the "decant of patients and services where Raac panels are present in clinical areas".
The letter urged the trusts to ensure that they had properly identified and managed the concrete.
Hospitals in England warned to be ready for evacuation (Bournemouth Echo UK)
Nursing union urges NHS Trusts to share evacuation plans (Nursing Notes)
Schools say concrete surveys were sent back month ago
It has been claimed a small number of schools have said they sent back surveys regarding Raac “months ago” despite receiving a subsequent "telling-off" letter from the Department for Education earlier this week instructing them it was "imperative" they return questionnaires by September 8.
One headteacher has suggested the government may be guilty of a lack of proper record-keeping, warning that their responses may have been "lost."
The headteacher, who was speaking anonymously, told the Evening Standard: “We responded months ago and still received a telling off letter. What is the DfE doing? Have they lost our forms? They’re the ones that need to get organised.”
It follows Gillian Keegan's hot-mic comments earlier this week, in which she indicated "everyone else has sat on their arse” while she tried to fix the scandal.
Read more: Schools say concrete surveys were sent back month ago (Evening Standard)