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Funding for RAAC repairs

3 April 2024


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In an earlier Academy Update we discussed the (then new) issue of Reinforced Aerated Autoclaved Concrete (“RAAC”) in schools. That update concluded that the sector needed urgent answers from the Department for Education to three key questions:

  • What funding is available to schools?
  • Will the Government cancel existing capital projects to pay for RAAC?
  • What does “reasonable costs” mean in the context of a DfE statement that reasonable revenue costs arising from RAAC disruption such as short term rentals and travel costs incurred would be refunded?

Following a DfE policy announcement we have more clarity on some of these questions.

Surveys and questionnaires issued in autumn 2023 revealed that there were 234 schools which confirmed the presence of RAAC in some of their buildings. Over half of these (119 schools), where works to remedy RAAC are more complex or extensive, will have buildings rebuilt or modified under the existing School Rebuilding Programme capital funding line.

A further 110 schools where the required remedial works are smaller in scale will be given grant funding to remove RAAC from their buildings.

Five schools have been able to take affected buildings permanently out of use.

Whilst clarity on the funding solution is welcome, it is notable that there does not appear to be any ‘new’ money available, with both the School Rebuilding Programme and the grant funding seeming to come from existing funding pots. It is also not clear from the DfE announcements what the timing of any funds release will be: with some schools having had to close specialist facilities such as science laboratories since the start of the 2023/24 academic year there will inevitably be concern that some students’ exam preparation may be adversely affected.

No indication has been given so far of the total estimated cost of RAAC rectification across all the different categories of work. The School Rebuilding Programme was initially intended to rebuild around 500 schools by 2030 at a rate of around 50 per year, but there are already reports that that programme has fallen behind schedule. With a June 2023 National Audit Office report estimating that 700,000 children were being taught in unsafe or ageing school buildings, there will be concerns that one of the immediate impacts of RAAC will be to further delay the broader programme to modernise the sector’s estate.   

To discuss this in further detail, please speak to one of our Academies Team members.