Ofsted have issued a message to all schools impacted by the Raac crisis.

The inspectorate has revealed it will not be inspecting schools who have been affected by reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) during the current term.

However, if concerns have been expressed about a school, Ofsted have said they will still carry out an inspection “in line with our current policy, regardless of their situation”.

Ofsted statement on Raac for schools

This is the full statement sent to schools affected by Raac: “This term we will avoid inspecting any education setting that is on the Department for Education’s published list of education settings affected by RAAC.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Some schools are at risk of collapsing. Some schools are at risk of collapsing. (Image: PA)

“These settings will be removed from our scheduling and will not be selected for inspection during the term.

“Some settings are not on the list, but are still impacted by RAAC in some way – for example, hosting pupils from schools that have RAAC. We have updated our deferrals guidance to make clear that we will consider disruption as a result of measures taken to deal with RAAC, when looking at inspection deferral.

“These measures will be kept under review.

“If we have concerns about a school then we may continue to carry out an inspection, in line with our current policy, regardless of their situation with RAAC.”

What is Raac?

Raac is made up of two parts, aerated autoclaved concrete, and a steel reinforcement. The aerated autoclaved concrete is made by adding aluminium into a lime or cement based concrete mix.

This reacts to make millions of tiny bubbles which form the bulk of the material.

The steel reinforcement is coated with a latex or cement mix before the concrete is then cast around it.

The material is mostly found as precast panels in roofs, as well as floors and walls.

Why is Raac a potential risk?

Raac is less durable than concrete, and is prone to collapse when wet, as moisture soaks into its aerated holes.

It has a life expectancy of little more than 30 years.

This means that buildings built between the 1950s to the 1990s that have not been assessed by a structural engineer could be at risk of collapse.

Several roof failures in public buildings have been linked to Raac panels, with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) warning that the material is now “life-expired” and “liable to collapse with little or no notice”.

Raac surveys ongoing in schools

More than 600 schools have now been surveyed for collapse-risk concrete, senior officials in the Department for Education have said.

Officials also confirmed that the department has received 98% of responses to a questionnaire about potential reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) in their buildings.

It comes after ministers set a deadline of last Friday for school leaders and responsible bodies to respond.

The new figures emerged as permanent secretary at Department for Education Susan Acland-Hood and chief operating officer Jane Cunliffe appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (Pac).

The two top officials were grilled by MPs about the ongoing crisis, with Pac chair Dame Meg Hillier telling the civil servants that it was “disappointing” the pair had not come before MPs ready to provide more figures.

The Department for Education officials resisted questions about how many schools were waiting for a survey for Raac, amid questions from Dame Meg about whether the number was in the “tens” or “hundreds”.