UNISON urges government to make schools safe now

Scores of schools that could be at risk of collapse have been warned to be ready for the possibility that they could have to close part or all of their buildings within days, according to reports in the Mirror.

The affected schools were built with “crumbly” reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) from the 1960s to 1990s, with a life expectancy of around 30 years.

According to an internal government document seen by the media, the Department for Education have been hastily calling schools over the bank holiday weekend warning them to have plans in place to close school buildings at short notice, despite unions and other organisations calling for urgent action to make schools safe for many months.

UNISON head of education Mike Short said: “Since January this year the DfE and ministers have done all they can to avoid the repeated requests made to provide parents and staff with information on the true conditions of our schools.

“Instead they have found every possible loop hole to avoid publishing the information, with the minister even failing to meet his promise to parliament to publish the data before the summer break.

“We now have the absurd situation of government departments ringing schools days before term begins, telling them to prepare for potential building closures.

“It’s time for the government to get to grips with the issue and ensure our schools are safe – now and for generations to come.”

Mike Short, the head of education at Unison, said: “For months the government has done all it can to avoid providing parents and staff with information on the dangers in many schools.

“The government needs to get a grip on this issue and apply as much effort to fixing schools as it puts into hiding their parlous state.”