The government has announced the “final list” of schools and colleges in England that will receive funding to remediate reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), but has not confirmed a total cost.
Last year, the Department for Education (DfE) committed to fund the necessary RAAC remediation works, and yesterday it published what it said was a final list of 234 institutions confirmed that contain the collapse-risk material – up three on its previous update in December.
Of the schools and colleges in the final list, 119 will have one or more buildings rebuilt or refurbished through the School Rebuilding Programme.
The DfE will also allocate grant funding to 110 schools for more minor RAAC remediation work.
A further five schools and colleges will have “alternative arrangements” in place, the DfE announced. These may include taking RAAC-affected buildings out of use.
The department has not confirmed how much it will award or when schools might expect to receive funding, however.
Education secretary Gillian Keegan said: “We will continue to work closely with schools and colleges as we take the next step to permanently remove RAAC from affected buildings.”
She had previously said that more than 100 RAAC-hit schools would be completely rebuilt.
A DfE spokesperson told CN that funding for RAAC removal would come from unallocated capital budgets so would not involve cutting existing commitments, including projects already announced in the School Rebuilding Programme.
The DfE added that those responsible for running the buildings in affected schools have received confirmation about how RAAC removal will be funded.
All schools and colleges with buildings constructed during the era when RAAC was installed have responded to the DfE questionnaire, and all schools with suspected RAAC have been surveyed for the substance.
With the latest additions, the 10-year School Rebuilding Programme includes 513 institutions.
The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee expressed concern in November that the School Rebuilding Programme was failing to take account of longer-term value for money by prioritising RAAC-affected schools over schools with other building problems.
The committee also repeated concerns raised last June in a National Audit Office report that contractors were reluctant to take on projects in the scheme due to concerns about inflation.