Scottish schools to be assessed for presence of collapse-risk concrete

Scottish schools to be assessed for presence of collapse-risk concrete

collapse-risk, Scottish, Scottish schools

In a significant move, Scottish schools are undergoing assessments to determine the presence of collapse-risk concrete. This proactive measure follows the UK Government’s decision to close more than 100 buildings due to concerns related to this potentially harmful material. As a result of this assessment, pupils at the 104 affected schools south of the border will be temporarily relocated while authorities address the issue of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac).

Understanding Collapse-Risk Concrete

Raac, which stands for reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete, is a lightweight concrete that was commonly used in construction from the 1950s until the mid-1990s. However, recent incidents, such as the roof collapse at Singlewell Primary School in Kent in 2018, have raised serious concerns about its structural integrity.

The Scottish Government’s Response

The Scottish Government has taken swift action by launching an assessment of Raac across the school estate in Scotland. Local authorities have been tasked with prioritizing remedial work in response to the findings.

The Extent of the Issue

Figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats in May shed light on the widespread presence of Raac in Scottish schools. The data revealed that Raac was present in at least 37 schools across various regions of Scotland, including Dumfries and Galloway, Aberdeen, Clackmannanshire, West Lothian, Dundee, the Highlands, North Lanarkshire, Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, East Lothian, and Perth and Kinross.

The Scottish Government's Response

Guidelines for Remediation

Guidance from the Institution of Structural Engineers specifies that Raac should only be replaced if it is deemed to be in poor condition and poses a high risk. Otherwise, it can be managed in place. This measured approach aims to balance safety concerns with the practicality of addressing the issue.

Ongoing Reviews

The Scottish Government has emphasized the importance of ongoing reviews by local authorities, NHS Scotland, and other public sector organizations to identify Raac in public buildings, including schools and hospitals. These reviews are critical in determining the appropriate mitigation plans and ensuring the safety of students and staff.

Ensuring Safety

Ministers have made it clear that students will not be taught in parts of buildings where Raac is considered a risk. The safety of pupils and staff remains a top priority, and any necessary actions will be taken to safeguard their well-being.

Calls for Transparency

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has urged the Scottish Government to disclose which schools are impacted by Raac. He stresses the need for immediate action and warns against waiting for a tragedy to occur before addressing the issue effectively.

Teachers’ Union Concerns

Patrick Roach, the general secretary of the teachers’ union NASUWT, has called for an immediate survey of school buildings. He emphasizes the importance of assessing the safety of the entire schools estate and having clear plans in place to minimize disruptions to children’s education in case schools are found to be unsafe.


The assessment of Scottish schools for the presence of collapse-risk concrete reflects a proactive approach to safety concerns. While the situation is being thoroughly evaluated, the Scottish Government and local authorities are working diligently to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to protect students and staff. Transparency and safety remain paramount in this endeavor.


  1. What is Raac, and why is it a concern for Scottish schools?
    Raac stands for reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete, and it has been linked to structural issues in schools. The concern arises from its potential to compromise building safety.
  2. How many schools in Scotland are affected by Raac?
    At least 37 schools in various regions of Scotland have been found to contain Raac, raising concerns about their structural integrity.
  3. What is the recommended approach for dealing with Raac in schools?
    According to guidelines from the Institution of Structural Engineers, Raac should be replaced only if it is in poor condition and poses a high risk. Otherwise, it can be managed in place.
  4. What actions are being taken to ensure the safety of students and staff in affected schools?
    Local authorities are conducting reviews, and where Raac is found, appropriate mitigation plans will be implemented, which may include temporary relocation of students and staff.
  5. Why is transparency important in this situation?
    Transparency is crucial to inform parents, students, and the community about the safety of their schools and to build trust in the measures taken to address the issue.

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