Northern Ireland

More than 100 schools in Northern Ireland to be surveyed for Raac

The Education Authority has identified 120 schools for survey
The Education Authority has identified 120 schools for survey

More than 100 schools in Northern Ireland are to be surveyed for Raac, the Education Authority (EA) has said.

In a letter to schools, it said it had identified 120 schools that will be examined for the Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac).

It comes after some school buildings in England, which were made with Raac, have been forced to close over safety fears.

The material is a lightweight concrete used from the 1950s up to the mid-1990s which is being assessed after it was linked to the collapse of the roof at Singlewell Primary School in Kent in 2018.

Read more:

  • Northern Ireland schools to be checked for collapse-prone concrete 'as a matter of urgency'
  • Schools to be told to close classrooms threatened by aerated concrete 

The BBC reported on Monday that the EA had identified 120 schools for survey on the basis of building fabric, age and type of construction.

In its letter, it said that "any settings in which it (Raac) is present are likely to experience minimal disruption".

It said the safety of staff and pupils was of "paramount importance" and analysis of the survey results will "determine what further action is required in the coming months".

The letter added: "If detected, it is anticipated that in most cases, children and young people will be able to continue attending school as normal".

Earlier this month, the NASUWT NI teaching union wrote to Northern Ireland's permanent education secretary to ask for checks to be carried out at schools in the north.

Justin McCamphill from the union said: "Parents, teachers and pupils will be concerned to read news reports that the UK government are having to take take immediate action to address the risks associated with RAAC.

"The Department of Education now need to clarify what steps they are taking to ensure that school buildings in Northern Ireland are safe.

"Nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of children and young people and those who work in our schools."