It happens while the government looks into the degree of issues with crumbling reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), often known as concrete.
A form of concrete called RAAC has also been utilised in public structures including hospitals and courthouses.
Just days before the start of the new school year, the Department for Education (DfE) has instructed more than 100 schools and institutions to partially or completely shut down their buildings due to concerns about the security of buildings constructed with RAAC.
The government has so far identified 156 schools that contain RAAC with 104 schools or “settings” told to close or partially close, on top of another 50 where mitigations have already been put in place.
However, when the government conducts its “exhaustive” probe into the issue, additional schools and other public buildings with structural difficulties could come to light, according to Jeremy Hunt, who was speaking on Sky News’ new political show Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips.
In the coming weeks or months, “we might find new information and we will act on it,” he said. “But in terms of the information we have today, we have immediately acted, we will continue to act, and we will continue to invest.”
Parents and opposition parties were outraged when the DfE announced that certain schools would have to closure. Labour accused the administration of “staggering incompetence” in response to the revelation.
The government has recommended schools affected by the RAAC crisis to locate room in other schools, community centres, or even “empty local office buildings” close by.
In order to lessen the risk of collapse of structures constructed with RAAC, ministers have stated that such areas should be used for the “first few weeks” until structural supports are implemented.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb promised to share the list “in due course,” but it’s believed the DfE won’t do so until all parents have been notified and appropriate mitigations have been put in place.