Back to school in the United Kingdom: controversy after the risk of collapse of a hundred schools

While Monday, September 4 is the day of the start of the school year for the majority of schools in the United Kingdom, a hundred schools in England will not be part of it, because they received Thursday, August 31 a notification from the Department of Education warning that their buildings are too dangerous to reopen to students. These establishments will therefore remain closed.

A hundred British schools were warned at the last minute that they were at risk of collapsing at the start of the school year on September 4, including Parks Elementary School, in Leicester, here on September 1, 2023. © Jacob King / AP

By: RFI Follow


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With our correspondent in London, Emeline Vin

At least 150 English schools are in danger of collapsing because they are built with Raac, an inexpensive aerated concrete with a limited lifespan. While this problem has been known for ten years, the government only alerted the schools concerned a few days before the start of the school year.

Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt tried to justify himself on Sunday 3 September on the BBC: "We had surveyed 22,000schools. But during the summer holidays, new information emerged, suggesting that establishments previously considered safe were no longer safe. There were 156 schools. We have been able to take action for 52 of them, which will be able to open normally. For the remaining hundred, the majority will be able to accommodate students.


But prefabricated or other premises must be found to replace closed classrooms. Otherwise, postpone the start of the school year or resume classes remotely, as during the pandemic. The government promises to pay for the repairs. "We will pay what it costs so that our children can go to school safely. Let parents be sure that we will not take any risks with their safety," said Jeremy Hunt. Other public buildings could be affected, such as courts or hospitals.

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  • United Kingdom
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