Carmel College and Ferryhill School have had their RAAC repair funding withdrawn

Nineteen schools affected by the reinforced aerated concrete (RAAC) issue across the country, including Ferryhill School in County Durham and Carmel College in Darlington, withdrew funding for construction projects in 2010.

These schools were earmarked for reconstruction as part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) work program – but this project was scrapped by the Conservative-led government after the 2010 general election.

Now school buildings have been closed after a potentially dangerous, decaying RAAC was found on the site.

Read more: Three more schools in the North East confirm the RAAC government’s list

Following this analysis, politicians and parents are raising concerns that the planned £55bn BSF investment could have prevented the RAAC crisis, which has resulted in thousands of pupils being prevented from starting face-to-face teaching this month .

When the BSF program was abolished, then education secretary Michael Gove said BSF was characterized by “massive overspending, tragic delays, botched construction projects and unnecessary bureaucracy”.

A review of the BSF program found that the allocation of funds for school buildings was “complex, time-consuming, expensive and opaque.”

After funding was withdrawn, over 700 projects were stopped, including work at Carmel College and Ferryhill School.

Last week Carmel College and the Sixth Form announced it would only be partially open after RAAC was found in the kitchen and library.

Ferryhill School in County Durham confirmed two of its buildings are affected by potentially dangerous RAAC in an email to parents, which has since been posted on social media and seen by the Echo.

Read more: Fundraising campaign after three people died in crash on the A61 near Ripon reaches £15,000

The kitchen and library will be temporarily evacuated, but all year groups will continue to go to school next week.

Bridget Phillipson, Labor MP and shadow education secretary, said: “The decisions made by the Conservatives, including the Prime Minister, have led us to the chaos that North East families are experiencing in this country today.”

“Conservative ministers, including the current schools minister, have scrapped Labour’s ‘Building Schools for the Future’ program which would have seen the rebuilding of Ferryhill School and Carmel College in counties Durham and Darlington.”

The problems facing Carmel College and Ferryhill School were mentioned in Prime Minister’s Questions today by Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer.

He said: “Carmel College and Ferryhill School were both on Labor’s planning list in 2010 – they abolished it and now there are children living there in run-down schools.”

“The truth is that this crisis is the inevitable result of 13 years of austerity, botched work and sticking plaster policies.”

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“Isn’t the Prime Minister ashamed that, after 13 years of Tory government, children are cowering under steel supports that prevent their classrooms from collapsing?”

However, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak responded: “That is exactly what we expect from the political optimism we expect from Captain Hindsight.”
“Not once has he raised this issue with me in that mailbox.” Carmel College and Ferryhill School have had their RAAC repair funding withdrawn

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