RAAC affected schools in Thurrock coping well

Thurrock schools are coping well with temporary buildings while dangerous concrete is removed, a councillor has confirmed.

Schools across the country were thrown into chaos at the start of term in September as the Government announced hundreds of school closures in order to deal with buildings containing crumbling concrete.

The borough has five confirmed schools that have Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) present in the building. Those schools are St Clere’s, Arthur Bugler, East Tilbury, Thameside and Corringham.

Arthur Bugler Primary School in St James Avenue East, Stanford-le-Hope and East Tilbury Primary School in Princess Margaret Road are the latest to have applications approved for buildings and a marquee to accommodate children and staff while RAAC is replaced.

Adam Carter, councillor responsible for education, said the schools have managed to deal with the situation without too much disruption. He said: “Our schools have done very well in coping with this. They’ve adapted well and all schools are back to face-to-face learning and I wish our academies all the best in their endeavours.

“The marque at Thameside is absolutely fine. They are not the same as garden ones. This one has a glass door and it’s only used as a breakfast club.”

Arthur Bugler installed a toilet block in September and a marquee as a staff room in October.

East Tilbury has also installed a toilet block adjacent to the building.

At recent meeting of the children’s services overview and scrutiny committee, Sara Muldowney, Labour councillor for Chadwell St Mary called for a report on how schools were dealing with the problem. She said: “The schools we have had problems with are all suffering disruption. There is going to be disruption to some students learning. I would like to see this come as a proper report for the next meeting. We should know more about all of them then.”

The schools were given permission for the temporary buildings under permitted development rights. The structures will have to be removed after work to remove the RAAC is completed.

All Thurrock children are being taught within school buildings, with temporary buildings only used for ancillary needs.

A planning report said: “Schools have recently been afforded permitted development rights to address the need for temporary accommodation while works to remove/repair RAAC are carried out.”

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter