Schools: Buildings

Department for Education written question – answered at on 21 March 2023.

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Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to her Department's Condition of School Buildings Survey published in May 2021, what recent assessment she has made of the cost to repair and replace all defective elements of the school estate.

Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to her Department's Condition of School Buildings Survey, published in May 2021, what recent assessment she has made of the safety of school buildings.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Department published a high level Condition Data Collection (CDC) Key Findings Report in 2021, which estimated the cost of remedial work to repair or replace all defective elements in the school estate in England to be £11.4 billion. The report can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/989912/Condition_of_School_Buildings_Survey_CDC1_-_key_findings_report.pdf.

The Department is currently updating the data on school building condition in the successor programme, CDC2, which is due for completion in 2026. A full assessment of the remedial costs to repair or replace all defective elements in the school estate cannot be made until completion of the programme.

The Department has allocated over £13 billion since 2015 for keeping schools safe and operational, including £1.8 billion in 2022/23. This is informed by consistent data on the school estate. The School Rebuilding Programme will rebuild or refurbish buildings at 500 schools over the next decade, prioritising schools in poor condition and with potential safety issues. 400 schools have been announced to date, including 239 in December 2022.

It is the responsibility of the academy trusts and Local Authorities which look after school buildings to maintain them and keep them safe. In 2021, the Department wrote to every responsible body signposting them to available support, reminding them of their responsibility to maintain the safety of their buildings, and inviting them to contact the Department regarding any serious structural issues in their buildings. The Department has been following up individually with the schools that responded to this, steering them towards available funding routes and guidance, and, in some cases, sending a technical adviser to visit the school.

The Department has also sent a questionnaire to all responsible bodies asking them to provide information on Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) in their school buildings. The Department has engaged buildings professionals to work with schools who have reported they suspect RAAC is present to verify its presence and assess its condition. Where the presence of RAAC is confirmed, the Department helps schools with appropriate support.

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