Councils confirm no RAAC found in schools
Anthony Lewis, local democracy reporter
Both Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil councils say they have found no reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) concrete in their schools.
RAAC is a lightweight form of concrete and was used in the construction of schools, colleges, and other buildings from the 1950s until the mid-1990s.
The Health and Safety Executive has warned that RAAC is now beyond its lifespan and could collapse without notice.
Its presence has been confirmed in a range of public sector properties across the UK including in over 100 schools in England.
On Friday Education Minister Jeremy Miles revealed RACC has not been discovered in any other schools in Wales to date.
RCT Council has since confirmed that it has no reported instances of RAAC in its schools. Officers are now doing further studies, in line with the Welsh Government’s advice.
The council said it will continue to work with the Welsh Government to ensure due diligence is undertaken to keep school buildings safe and well maintained.
The statement from RCT Council said Wales has largely taken a different approach to England in relation to school building maintenance and investment.
It said that while school building programmes in England have been vastly scaled back, both the 21st Century Schools Programme and the Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme in Wales have resulted in “significant capital funding for schools”, with RCT Council benefiting from hundreds of millions of pounds of investment for new and improved school buildings.
It went on to say that based on previous surveys, school facilities in RCT largely fall in to three different categories which do not meet the criteria for buildings typically containing RAAC and these are older Victorian-style school buildings, buildings which consist of light, prefabricated steel frames and wooden roofs, and new or refurbished modern 21st Century School buildings
The council said it will continue to prioritise pupil and staff safety in undertaking further survey works.
Councillor David Hughes, Merthyr Tydfil’s cabinet member for neighbourhood services said: “All schools and council-run childcare settings in Merthyr Tydfil have been inspected and no RAAC has been found.
“With school inspections complete, our inspection team will now move on to survey all other council-owned buildings.”
RAAC was confirmed in two schools on Anglesey last week but after initially closing due to safety concerns both have now started a phased return for pupils.
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