Thurrock schools coping with the RAAC crisis

Thurrock schools are continuing to cope well with disruption caused by work to remove unsafe concrete, a report has revealed.

Members of the council’s children’s services overview and scrutiny committee are said to have visited four of the five Thurrock schools affected by the discovery of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC), a “bubbly” form of concrete commonly used in construction between the 1950s and mid-1990s.

All the borough’s schools are either standalone academies or part of multi-academy trusts meaning the council doesn’t have a statutory duty to monitor the buildings but the authority “recognises it has a duty of care” to the pupils being taught in them.

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

A report to the committee which will meet on Tuesdays, gives an update on how each school is dealing with the issue.

St Cleres School decided against multiple small demountable units and has instead installed three Losberger units, large modular temporary buildings. Two of the units provide 20 classrooms, a staff rom and toilet facilities. The third unit has six classrooms and an assembly hall. In the school building, the sports hall has been converted to four classrooms.

East Tilbury Primary School will be carrying out remediation works to the RAAC affected areas starting in the spring term, with completion in the summer term. As a temporary measure a high quality, heated marquee was placed onsite to provide additional facility to enable planned Christmas activities to continue. Without this facility pupils would not have been able to take part in these important activities. There is no teaching taking place within the marquee.

At Thameside Primary School a double temporary classroom has been installed to provide two teaching spaces along with temporary internal alterations to provide additional teaching spaces. Work to remove the RAAC will also start in the spring. It too has installed a heated marquee which is used to run a breakfast club for disadvantaged pupils. A second marquee also provided space for Christmas activities.

Arthur Bugler Primary School will repeat its repairs by the summer while work is already underway t Corringham Primary School and is due for completion by the end of January.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter