Concrete found in the roof of Islington boys’ school

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Concrete found in the roof of Islington boys' school
Credit Unsplash

Classes at an Islington boys’ school had to be moved after RAAC concrete was found in the roof of one of the buildings.

It comes after the government told 100 schools nationwide that they needed to close just days before the autumn term started.

Schools were left reeling that the “ticking time bomb” could cause more disruption after the Covid pandemic.

The concerns follow the collapse of a school roof in Kent.

Experts discovered the potentially harmful RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) in the roof of one of the blocks at St Alysious’ College, which has 642 pupils.

The boys’ school took specialist advice and moved classrooms from the top two floors of the block elsewhere in the building so more tests and remediation can be done.

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In a letter to parents, headteacher Paula Whyte said it was “business as usual!”

An Islington Council spokesman said: “We’re working with the leadership team at St Aloysius’ College and the Department for Education to ensure remedial work is carried out safely and to give reassurance to parents. The school is following all guidance, and there is currently no disruption to teaching.

“The government has not notified us of any schools that need to be closed or partially closed in Islington, and all schools opened as planned last week.

“In schools specifically, we continue to take a proactive approach to identifying any RAAC present. We have re-engaged our expert surveyors to re-check any areas of concern as a precaution to ensure that we uphold the highest standards of building safety for our children and staff. We are also working closely with other education providers in Islington and the Department for Education, who lead on this matter, to ensure all school settings in the borough are safe.”

The council has not found any problems in any of its 36,000 flats and homes and is working with surveyors on the lookout for any problems.

The spokesman added: “We take our responsibilities as a social landlord equally seriously. We have a rigorous understanding of our stock and the investment required to keep it to a good standard. It remains our priority to maintain safe and suitable homes for all residents living on our estates and in street properties.”

He said the council has looked at its repairs reports, capital works and building surveys and there is no evidence of RAAC concrete, but it will monitor this closely.

“Over the last two years, we have also been undertaking a rolling programme of condition surveys of all the other properties we own. Our external expert surveyors are specifically inspecting for the presence of RAAC in all the properties they survey going forward and are prioritising inspections of buildings constructed when RAAC was in use.

“As a precaution, we are also reviewing all information from the latest surveys we hold on our buildings to identify and prioritise any need for reinspection.”

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