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Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and Welsh Language

First published:
15 September 2023
Last updated:

I would like to thank everyone working in the education sector and local authorities who continue to work at pace since the UK Government’s Department for Education published its revised risk assessment for RAAC.

On Monday 4 September, we confirmed that two schools in Ynys Mon, which have RAAC present in their buildings, would close temporarily to enable further safety inspections to be carried out. Following proactive management by both headteachers, Ysgol David Hughes has safely reopened to all learners and Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi has been able to partially open for pupils with face-to-face lessons for four school year groups, alternating with three school groups, with the group not at school on any one day receiving online learning.

Throughout this week, all local authorities have been continuing to review their school estate to identify any areas suspected of containing RAAC. As a result of this work, two further cases of RAAC have been identified in parts of schools in Wales.

On Wednesday 13 September, Conwy County Council took the decision to temporarily close Ysgol Maes Owen as a precautionary measure whilst structural engineers carried out further investigation of the RAAC identified at the school.

On Thursday 14 September, RAAC was identified in areas of a flat roof in Ysgol Trefnant in Denbighshire following a detailed inspection. Denbighshire County Council as a precautionary measure took the decision to temporarily close the school whilst further investigations are undertaken. 

As stage one of our RAAC identification process draws to a close, we can confirm that we have received updates from all local authorities. No other schools have been identified as containing RAAC. Stage two of the process is already underway with Welsh Government officials scrutinising the returns to identify with local authorities any further data and survey or similar work which is required and so that arrangements can be made for those to be undertaken. 

As previously stated, this work will be progressed immediately and will be completed in December. I fully understand the concerns that parents, carers, and staff have had over past weeks and I want to assure you that the staged process we are undertaking is a detailed and robust one. 

CollegesWales has also been working with Further Education colleges to provide us with information on whether RAAC has been identified in the college estate. RAAC has only been identified in one college so far in a very small part of one building across the Cardiff and Vale College estate and this is being managed in accordance with the published guidance from the Institution of Structural Engineers.  The remaining further education institutions have confirmed that there are no immediate areas of concern, and that they are all actively progressing stage two of the RAAC assessment process. 

We are also working closely with HEFCW and Universities Wales to get a full picture of the impact of RAAC in the higher education sector. As previously indicated, universities are arranging assessments, working with the Association of University Estates Directors (AUDE), which is conducting a survey of institutions and will provide updates in due course. To date, no institutions other than Cardiff University and Bangor University have identified any potential areas of RAAC. In Cardiff the affected area has been closed and mitigation works are being implemented along with further surveys. In Bangor, the affected area is not accessible to students or the public and has been temporarily cordoned off to staff.

We continue to recommend that existing guidance from the Institution of Structural Engineers is used to investigate and assess the presence of RAAC in public buildings. Its supplementary guidance, which was published this year, includes advice on assessing risk, remediation and management when RAAC is found to be present.