Relief at Town Hall as inspections confirm no RAAC in Hackney’s schools

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Hackney Town Hall

Education bosses breathed a sigh of relief after finding out that crumbling RAAC concrete has not been used in Hackney’s schools.

Director of education Paul Senior said schools in the borough have been inspected and no reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), which can collapse unexpectedly, has been found.

The Department for Education recently published a list of more than 100 at-risk schools, but none are in Hackney.

The lightweight construction material is mainly used in roofs and has a lifespan of just 30 years.

“It is RAAC from the 1950s, 60s and 70s that is of main concern, especially if it has not been adequately maintained,” according to Professor Chris Goodier, an expert in construction engineering and materials at Loughborough University.

The collapse of a school roof in Kent in 2018 triggered fears, and last year the government asked 20,000 schools to inspect their buildings for signs of the material.

Just before the start of the autumn term, it gave headteachers a headache when it warned them about problems with their school buildings.

Nineteen schools have delayed the start of the year.

Senior told councillors that there would be further urgent examinations carried out if any Hackney school is contacted by the Department for Education.

Cllr Sophie Conway, chair of Hackney’s children and young people scrutiny commission, had asked for an urgent update, and said the news was “reassuring”.

However, she is concerned that children from Hackney might attend schools with RAAC outside the borough.

It comes as an Islington boys’ school had to move some classes after the material was discovered in a roof.