Higher Education: Buildings

Department for Education written question – answered at on 25 October 2023.

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Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance her Department issued to higher education providers on determining the presence of RAAC on their estates before 1 August 2023.

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information her Department requested from higher education providers on the (a) extent of and (b) likely cost of remediation of RAAC on their estates before 1 August 2023.

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has commissioned information from the Office for Students on the potential impact of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) present on university campuses on student (a) learning and (b) accommodation since 1 August 2023.

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of the presence of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete across university campuses on teaching degree courses as students begin the new academic year.

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance her Department has issued to the higher education sector on RAAC since 1 August 2023.

Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Minister of State (Education)

The higher education sector is independent from government; it is therefore for individual providers to determine and address any estate issues.

While mindful of the sector’s independence, we have requested information on this issue from higher education (HE) providers and their representative bodies to gain a wider understanding of the situation and to provide advice. The department contacted Universities UK on 14 June 2023 to direct HE providers to relevant RAAC guidance from the Institution of Structural Engineers and the departmental RAAC guidance for state-funded education buildings.

This was followed by a similar email to all the HE mission groups on 6 September. A third communication was sent to all the HE mission groups on 29 September, again referring HE providers to the Institution of Structural Engineers RAAC guidance and clarifying that the departmental RAAC guidance is to support those responsible for state funded education buildings.

The department is continuing to work with the sector to ensure that all HE providers have access to the right guidance and are taking action to ensure students are protected.

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