UK: Over 100 Schools Closed Over Safety Concerns

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Thousands of British students find themselves deprived of the start of the school year. At issue: the concrete which was used to build their defective schools, and which today threatens to collapse.

As children around the world return to school, in the United Kingdom, thousands of students have been forced to stay at home, or join temporary classrooms in place of their schools. An aborted return to school for good reason: the buildings housing their classrooms threaten to collapse.

In the United Kingdom, hundreds of public buildings have been constructed using reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac), an “aerated” concrete, cheaper than conventional formulas, and particularly popular from the 1950s to the 1990s.

But this concrete, while cheap, is not of good quality: it would have a particularly short lifespan – and it has expired for hundreds of British schools.

Currently, more than 150 establishments are closed due to the risk of collapse, but the number of buildings that require work quickly to remain open could reach a thousand.

THE GOVERNMENT IN DIFFICULTIES

The case is gaining momentum in Great Britain, where the government is accused of having ignored the problem for years. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is personally implicated: according to Jonathan Slater, the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education, interviewed by the BBC, Rishi Sunak refused to grant the necessary funding for the renovation of 300 to 400 schools when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer.

He would have initially granted the funds necessary for the renovation of 100 schools, before further reducing this budget to only 50 schools. A budgetary decision which today comes back to haunt the current British Prime Minister.

Of the 22,500 schools in England, 95% are spared from the problem, leaving 5% of schools affected, or 1,125 establishments.

“We will spend as much as necessary to ensure children can go to school safely, and parents can be confident that we will take no risks with children’s safety,” Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt promised on Sunday. the BBC.

Not sure, however, that financing work will be enough to calm the minds of the British, who are very upset against the conservative government at the head of the country for 13 years. especially since beyond schools, thousands of public buildings, and in particular hospitals, could also be affected by this risk of collapse linked to reinforced autoclaved cellular concrete.

This article is originally published on elle.fr

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