When it comes to constructing schools, colleges and universities, it’s important to balance

aesthetic design with building safety. It’s about creating spaces that are not only safe

and functional but also welcoming and inspiring for both staff and students.

The new Academy Tien in The Netherlands strikes this balance perfectly,

with Pyroguard’s fire safe solutions playing a pivotal role throughout.

 

Designed by Wiersema Architecten and de Architecten CIE, the Academy Tien is a beautiful new school building near the centre of Utrecht. Catering for students between 10 and 18 years old, the academy has been constructed with a contemporary open plan layout, to maximise the building’s natural light transmission.

 

Contracted to deliver the fire-resistant steel interior partitions and frames on the project, was JM Van Delft & zn, a specialist in glazing system solutions. Ruud van Dal, Sales and Operations Manager at JM Van Delft & zn, said:

“Throughout this project, it was important that both aesthetics and safety were considered and well balanced. There was a clear requirement for keeping the school’s interior spaces light and open, while simultaneously providing a safe environment for students, staff and visitors to work and learn in. As a result, fire safety glass was chosen as the perfect material for installation within the building’s internal partitions, doors and central atrium.

“Pyroguard Protect EW60 was installed within the doors, sidelights and designated escape routes. While Pyroguard Protect EI60, offering the highest level of protection, was installed between classrooms and the central atrium, creating a series of fire safe compartments.”

 

This process of compartmentation can form a key part of any building’s passive fire protection strategy, working to split the building up into a series of fire safe zones. As well as helping to limit the spread of a fire, this can also provide both a safe route of escape for occupants and a means of entry for the emergency services.

 

Ruud continued:

“Pyroguard Protect’s high visual appearance helped to maintain the light and open interior that the architect desired, while its multi-functional capabilities proved key in delivering improved acoustic control and impact resistance – something which was a clear priority when designing the new academy.”

 

Pyroguard Protect is a toughened fire safety glass, certified for use in steel, timber and aluminium profiles. Providing 30 to 180 minutes of protection against smoke and flames, 1B1 impact resistance, and UV stability, Pyroguard Protect ensures that both design and safety requirements can be achieved.

 

The Academy Tien opened its doors to students in January 2024.


CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PYROGUARD

 


A major section of Bradford secondary school is set to be demolished and replaced with modern, net zero buildings, the Department for Education has revealed.

Two blocks at Trinity Academy Bradford – the former Queensbury School and then Queensbury Academy – will be knocked down to make way for the new buildings under newly submitted plans. The third block will be given a full refurbishment, and there will be an increase in the amount of playing pitches on the site.

Image Credit: Department for Education

An application for the work has been submitted to Bradford Council by the Department for Education this week. It says some of the buildings are in a “poor condition” and are “failing to meet the needs” of the school.

The planning application said: “Trinity MAT have highlighted that the school buildings are suffering from various repair issues, which are prohibiting the school from using some classrooms and also are causing issues with main facilities (such as the dining and sports hall) which have suffered from water damage as a result of the poor condition of the buildings and are currently failing to meet the needs of the Trust.

“Block EFFA and ROSLA block also have inherent issues with life expired roof and asbestos in the fabric of the building. The three-storey EFAB block was built in the year 2000 and accommodates a significant amount of teaching accommodation, which is to be retained. The scheme will deliver an overall net gain of playing pitches in excess of 10,000sqm which is a substantial benefit to sports provision on the site.”

The application also says the new buildings will be “net zero” and much more environmentally friendly than the existing building.

It adds: “The development will include PV solar panels to allow for on-site energy generation, high-performance fabric U-values, triple glazed windows and hybrid ventilation systems, all of which will result in a development which provides significant reductions in carbon and environmental impacts.”

A public consultation on the plans took place late last year, and 19 people living in Queensbury responded. Some participants raised concerns about the plans, particularly a proposal to re-open a footpath to the school from Russell Hall Lane.

One resident said: “These were originally closed off due to the amount of traffic using Russell Hall Lane to drop off and pick students up. when you have lots of kids walking up and down it can be quite intimidating, especially for our elderly residents.”

The application responds to these concerns by saying: “Whilst we appreciate reintroducing the footpath may result in some disruption to residents through additional foot traffic in this area, there are also significant benefits by reducing the length of trips some students take to walk to school.”

A statement from the school said: “We are delighted with the progress that has been made in recent months regarding the proposed new building and refurbishment at Trinity Academy Bradford, and we are all looking forward to enjoying the significant improvements the new facilities will offer.

“The plans represent a substantial investment in our education infrastructure and will provide an outstanding learning environment for students in the local area.

“The building will include a range of new classrooms; a modern dining hall; multipurpose hall and performance space; Learning Resource Centre; and modern sports hall with additional sporting facilities.

“The new building and refurbishment will promote academic excellence and provide the ideal platform for students to succeed and take the next steps on their educational journey.”

 

A dedicated team from SOCOTEC UK’s Fire Engineering division played a vital role in providing fire consultancy services for the construction of a specialised SEN School. This institution caters to approximately 150 children aged four to nineteen with complex social and communication needs, ensuring a high-quality education through specialist facilities and adaptive teaching techniques.

The SOCOTEC team was actively involved in constructing a two-storey L-shaped school block, housing classrooms, a nursery, a kitchen, dining facilities, and staff amenities. Additionally, contributions extended to the construction of a single-storey sports block, featuring a fitness studio, court hall, changing rooms, and storage areas.

Throughout the project, SOCOTEC provided a range of fire consultancy services, developing fire safety strategies during the design stages and offering ad-hoc advice during construction. A tailored fire safety strategy was devised considering the unique needs of the occupants, with innovative design approaches to address potential challenges.

To accommodate the specific requirements of SEN occupants, traditional warning alarm sounders were replaced with voice-based alarms, providing clear instructions for effective evacuation. Pre-evacuation alerts for staff members, multi-tone sounders for flexible alarm tones, and the design of common corridors as protected escape routes were implemented to enhance safety during evacuations. The width of escape routes was increased to account for the occupants’ needs and potential evacuation challenges.

Key features of the fire safety strategy for this SEN School include:

  • Early warning system for staff members to respond promptly during emergencies
  • Multi-tone alarm system offering flexibility in alarm tones, minimising disturbance to occupants
  • Protected escape routes throughout the school to enhance safety during evacuations
  • Wider escape routes to compensate for potential increased evacuation times associated with the occupants’ needs.

With a commitment to safety and well-being, SOCOTEC Fire Engineering played a crucial role in constructing this specialised SEN School, ensuring a safe and secure learning environment for all occupants.

Removing asbestos from schools and hospitals would benefit UK economy by almost £12 billion over 50 years, says new report

Latest research also shows that asbestos-related diseases in former school and hospital workers cost the UK economy £1.3 billion per yeaRemoving asbestos from schools and hospitals would benefit UK economy by almost £12 billion over 50 years, says new report

New research commissioned by asbestos-related cancer charity, Mesothelioma UK, reveals the true cost to the UK economy of asbestos in schools and hospitals, and provides evidence to support a national plan for its removal.

This report estimates that in 2023, the total costs to the UK economy and society of asbestos-related diseases for former school and hospital workers were just over £1.3 billion.

The results suggest that removing asbestos from schools and hospitals within the next 10 years would save the UK economy almost £12 billion over 50 years in the reduced economic and social costs of asbestos-related diseases. The savings to the UK public finances would be around £3.6 billion.

Asbestos is often understood as a legacy of our industrial past; yet nearly 25 years on from the ban on the use of asbestos in the UK, many buildings – including hospitals and schools – still contain this harmful substance which, if disturbed, can become airborne and be inhaled. Thousands of people continue to die from unnecessary exposure to asbestos every year. Worryingly, death rates for female teachers and nurses are rising and are significantly higher than for the general population.

Following an inquiry about asbestos in buildings, the Work and Pensions Select Committee recommended that the UK put in place a national plan to remove all asbestos from buildings over the next 40 years. This study not only supports this but makes a case for considering a more rapid 10-year removal programme.

A copy of the full study can be downloaded from www.mesothelioma.uk.com/cost-benefit-analysis-2023/

The research was conducted by Landman Economics, a UK specialist consultancy in quantitative analysis and economic modelling. The study was supported by the Asbestos Testing and Consultancy Association (ATaC), the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA), the National Education Union (NEU), UNISON public service union, ResPublica, and Airtight on Asbestos.

Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK each year, as more than 5,000 people under the age of 75 die from asbestos-related cancers. More than half of those deaths are from mesothelioma, a cancer, most commonly of the lungs or abdomen, for which there is no cure. Up to 60 per cent of patients die in the first year after diagnosis, and just over five in 100 survive their mesothelioma for five years or more.

Sir Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham, and Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, recently spoke on a panel at the Labour Party’s Annual Conference about the dangers of asbestos, and the need for a government plan to remove it. Sir Stephen commented:

“This report provides important new evidence to support our Work and Pensions Select Committee recommendation for a national plan to remove asbestos from British workplaces over the next 40 years, and to create a central register of all asbestos in non-domestic buildings.”

Mesothelioma patient and asbestos removal campaigner, Helen Bone, said:

“It’s not just men who’ve worked in industry who are affected by the asbestos legacy we have in this country now; it’s nurses, doctors and teachers. The buildings that contain asbestos thought to be safe such as hospitals and schools, are now falling into disrepair and we have a responsibility to protect the people in them and all of the public buildings in this country. More must be said, more must be actioned, to keep future generations safe from this dangerous substance.”

Liz Darlison, Chief Executive of Mesothelioma UK commented:

“Mesothelioma UK have seen a change in the exposure of those diagnosed with mesothelioma. Increasingly, we are seeing far more subtle environmental exposure, with people that have worked as teachers, doctors and nurses. It’s a national disgrace that we continue to have the highest incidence of mesothelioma in the world and it is in everyone’s interest to do something significant to change the current approach to managing asbestos.

“Mesothelioma UK will continue to gather the evidence to make the case for change. We owe it to all those people that we have met and for whom we’ve cared; we owe it future generations to do all we can. Mesothelioma can be prevented – this has to stop!”

Daniel Kebede, General Secretary, NEU added:

“The only way to be sure of keeping children and staff safe from the scourge of asbestos-related disease is to remove asbestos from all educational buildings. This is morally the right thing to do but, as this report shows, removing asbestos from public buildings would also benefit the public finances, taking into account the huge costs to the economy of asbestos-related disease. We call upon the Government to end its policy of leaving asbestos in place, and managing it, in favour of a programme of phased removal, starting with the most dangerous.”

UNISON health and safety officer Joe Donnelly said:

“No one should have to convince the government to get rid of asbestos from schools and hospitals. Ministers should have ordered the removal of the fatal fibre long ago. Dealing with the UK’s asbestos legacy makes sense financially, but it is also the right and the safe thing to do.”

UK schools are preparing to leap forward in their sustainability thanks to the arrival of a new Climate Action Advisor team.

The Let’s Go Zero campaign, which unites UK schools working to be zero carbon, has recruited its first raft of Climate Action Advisors to lead the UK’s schools in creating and embedding zero-carbon practises.

This will result in the UK’s schools benefiting from improved energy management and sustainable behaviours, greater health and wellbeing for students and teachers, and lower school running costs.

The first of three teams of advisors gathered by Let’s Go Zero to work with schools, colleges and nurseries across England, has been launched in the Midlands, helping embed sustainability practises, in the face of the government’s apparent U-turn on its net-zero pledges. There are more experts in the pipeline for the South East, South West and London in April, and Yorkshire and Humberside, Anglia, North West, and North East by August 2024.

Climate Action Project Manager, Lucy Archer, who put the team together, said:

“From helping embed a sustainability lead, to drawing up a climate action plan or carrying out a zero-carbon audit, our Climate Action Advisors can support as much as you like. If you’re taking your first steps in your shift to zero carbon, or are ready to raise your sustainable journey to the next level, our Climate Action Advisors will be by your side, all the way.”

Jo Pettifer, Let’s Go Zero’s first-ever Climate Action Advisor, and a 2023 DofE Sustainability Award winner, said:

”Having been both a school leader and a sustainability coordinator, I know first-hand how keen schools are to reduce carbon, cut costs and improve staff and pupil wellbeing. What they desperately need is the specialist expertise to help them do this and that’s exactly what this role offers them. I love it!”

The Climate Action Advisors are a unique offer for school decision-makers to access unbiased guidance on climate action. This helps school leaders understand impact and differentiate quick wins from more intensive actions. This support couldn’t be more timely, linking to the latest Department for Education Climate Action Plan guidance and reporting requirements.

Head of Let’s Go Zero, Alex Green, said:

“The government appears to be back-peddling on climate initiatives to transition away from fossil fuels, yet it’s not stopping schools from taking action. Schools across the UK are leading the way by showing their intent and ambition to reach zero carbon by signing up to Let’s Go Zero.

“There are now over 2,500 schools, colleges and nurseries signed up to the Let’s Go Zero campaign, which supports schools to reach zero carbon by 2030. This proves to government that demand for a zero-carbon society is growing day by day.”

Let’s Go Zero is calling for the government to commit to all UK schools being zero carbon by 2030, to announce long-term and consistent policies and funding to enable this, and to invest in adapting and retrofitting the school estate.

Mrs Green said:

“So many schools tell us they are eager to decarbonise further but lack the support and investment to do so. This project sparks action in schools across the country – as well as creating impact at a national level.”

The Climate Action Advisors will offer hands-on help to fast track decarbonisation changes in schools, such as creating more energy-efficient buildings and on-site energy generation, improved green spaces, and reduced waste – all steps that lower emissions and inspire pupils and teachers. Recruitment for the London, South East and South West Climate Action Advisors is currently underway, with the rest of England covered by summer 2024, bringing the total of advisors to 30.

Schools, community groups and local authorities who would like to book a chat with a Climate Action Advisor about their transition to zero carbon can CONTACT THEM BY CLICKING HERE.

The Climate Action Advisors are funded through a £10 million partnership between Green Future Investments Ltd (GFIL) and Let’s Go Zero that also helps schools unlock finance at scale from the public and private sectors.

 

Earlier this year, more than 100 schools were forced to close due to grave risks associated with Reinforced Autoclaved Concrete (RACC) used in their construction. With schools already grappling with the immense challenge of accommodating growing student populations, there is simply no room for avoidable disruptions.

Experts from Lyon Tec believe that AI-driven solutions could have mitigated or even prevented this catastrophe.

Leading the charge, forward-thinking construction firms are now harnessing the power of AI tools to conduct precise and efficient analyses of building materials. These cutting-edge tools act as guardians of quality, ensuring the selection of optimal materials tailored to specific needs. In doing so, they not only prevent disasters like the RAAC crisis but also save invaluable time and resources.

AI-driven risk management software also offers real-time analysis, alerting authorities and construction firms about potential dangers before disasters strike. By effectively analysing material longevity, weather conditions, and historical failure data, these tools can forecast and prevent catastrophic events like the collapse of RAAC ceilings.

Artificial intelligence will have a huge impact on architecture in the future, and Lyon Tech is championing the use of this technology in the construction of new schools to ensure the highest level of safety, while minimising the risk of future disruption to education due to poorly chosen building decisions.

To find out more you can visit the Lyon Tech website.

Leading British ventilation manufacturer Vent-Axia is committed to providing healthy indoor air while driving a low-carbon future. The company is therefore paving the way in the ventilation sector when it comes to its decarbonisation. To illustrate its commitment Vent-Axia has set clear sustainability targets including increasing its sales of its low carbon products and increasing the use of recycled material in its manufacturing. Currently the carbon avoided by Vent-Axia’s group products is around four times its operational carbon footprint. Vent-Axia aims to be net zero by 2040, ten years before the Government’s 2050 net-zero target.

 

As part of its sustainability strategy Vent-Axia has developed three pillars that orientate and deliver its long-term objectives which are: Product – Engineer Sustainable Solutions; Planet – Improve environmental performance; and People – Connect people together. These focus areas have driven a number of targets including Vent-Axia setting a target of 70% of its sales revenue to be from low carbon products by end of FY2025. The company has successfully reached this milestone ahead of the target date. Vent-Axia has also set a target for 90% of the plastic it uses in its own manufacturing to be from recycled sources by the end of FY2025. Currently this figure is already at 83% and is on track to hit the 90% figure.

 

Vent-Axia recognises the importance of cutting carbon emissions in the built environment since buildings account for 40% of energy use in Europe and approximately 35% of emissions. To meet the Government’s 2050 net-zero target, buildings need to decarbonise which will involve the wide-scale electrification of heating, a move away from fossil fuels, as well as significant improvements to air tightness and building insulation. Heat recovery ventilation will be a key technology to help deliver the final piece of the carbon avoidance by preventing heat loss, so as a technology it is set for significant growth.

 

At Vent-Axia we have been leading the ventilation industry since 1936 and continue to do with our aim to become net zero by 2040. At Vent-Axia we are committed to a low-carbon future with the health and wellbeing of people and the planet at its core”, said Joseph Brawn, Product and Marketing Director at Vent-Axia. Carbon avoidance is the only way for the UK to reach Net Zero with the decarbonisation of buildings an essential part of this. We aim to provide our customers with the products to help them on their decarbonisation journey while also continuing our commitment to providing effective ventilation to improve indoor air quality and comfort for inhabitants – since 70% of the air we breathe in our lifetime is air inside buildings.

 

To meet the necessary carbon reductions buildings are becoming more thermally efficient as they are insulated, and their air tightness is increased to avoid heat loss. However, without considering ventilation alongside these measures a building can end up with condensation, mould and poor IAQ. Energy efficient heat recovery ventilation therefore supplies a solution that provides healthy filtered air while recovering heat that would be otherwise lost.

 

Vent-Axia is a solutions provider and collaborates closely with its customer base to ensure it develops the products customers need to decarbonise. For that reason, the company is constantly improving the efficiency of its products and reducing their carbon intensity. For the company’s latest heat recovery ventilation products, the Sentinel Apex commercial heat recovery system and the Lo-Carbon Sentinel Econiq residential Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR), it can provide TM65 data to help customers understand their wider life cycle assessment.

 

The Sentinel Apex and the Lo-Carbon Sentinel Econiq have specifically been designed to meet the challenges of decarbonisation. Both systems feature market-leading heat recovery efficiencies of up to 93%. This level of efficiency means that the heating and cooling energy lost through ventilation can be reduced by up to 25% when compared to a 73% efficient heat exchanger in both heating and cooling seasons. Both heat recovery systems also contain energy efficient EC/DC motors with market-leading extremely low Specific Fan Power, these types of motors typically mean a third less energy is lost to heat compared to a conventional AC motor, with motor efficiencies better than IE5.

 

With overheating an issue in thermally efficient buildings the Apex and Econiq have been designed with an automatic summer bypass which is sized to eliminate performance loss. Ventilation on demand is also available as standard so no wasted energy and indoor IAQ is improved. The systems also both contain high levels of filtration to ensure the air supplied is fresh and healthy for improved and better indoor air quality.


PLEASE CLICK HERE for further information on Vent-Axia’s sustainability strategy

 

For further information on all products and services offered by Vent-Axia

telephone +44 (0)344 856 0590

 

OR CLICK HERE to visit the Vent-Axia Website

 

 


TWO Bradford schools have been able to return to classrooms where Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) was found.

Christ Church Academy, located on Wrose Brow Road in Windhill, and Baildon CE Primary School, on Coverdale Way, adopted alternative learning provisions for pupils after RAAC was identified in parts of the schools’ buildings in September.

Both schools are part of the Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust (BDAT) which fast-tracked inspections and funded structural surveys to mitigate the impact of the crumbling concrete and ensure the buildings were safe so pupils could return to learning as quickly as possible.

The trust took measures to ensure pupils could continue in-person lessons whilst the building work took place.

Some were able to carry out their education in safe parts of their school building or in marquees on the school grounds, while others were taught at local community hubs and schools, including sister BDAT school, Shipley CofE Primary, St John’s Church and Nell Bank.

Following successful and rapid remedial work by specialist contractors, both schools are now safe and secure for pupils and staff to return to.

Over the next few months, further long-term solutions will be undertaken to future-proof the buildings for years to come.

This work will be carried out during the school holidays to minimise any disruption to children’s learning.

Katie Savage, Headteacher of Baildon CE Primary School, said:

“It has been an absolute pleasure to welcome our whole school family back into our school building this week.

“We are so grateful to our children and staff for the incredible resilience they have shown over the past two months.”

Philippa Foster, Headteacher of Christ Church Academy, added:

“It has been fantastic to welcome all our children back into our building this week.

“We had a very moving collective Worship on Monday with everyone gathered together in our own school hall for the first time this year.

“One of our youngest pupils expressed it perfectly when he said very simply and very sincerely, ‘Mrs Foster, I love our school!’”

Carol Dewhurst, CEO of Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust, said:

“The safety and wellbeing of our pupils and staff is our top priority and that is why we funded inspections to ensure we knew as early as possible if our schools were affected.

“Thanks to the fantastic work of our contractors, we are delighted that all pupils have returned to their schools and will be taught inside and face-to-face from this week.”

 

Source: The Telegraph & Argus

 

Hundreds of excited primary school pupils started life at a new state-of-the-art school in Chryston this week.

 

The new Chryston Community Hub features 17 bright and spacious classrooms for up to 509 pupils and replaces the existing Chryston Primary School building.

The new hub will also offer significant benefits to the broader community in Chryston for local groups and organisations to use.

Jilly Moffat, Head Teacher of Chryston Primary School, said:

“It was wonderful to see the look of joy on the faces of so many children this morning as they entered our wonderful new home.

“It’s the beginning of a whole new chapter for the school and such an exciting time for us and the wider community as we look forward to benefiting from all the wonderful new facilities that the hub has to offer.

“My special thanks go to all the pupils, staff and parents who have made these first few days so enjoyable, and I look forward to many more great days together in our fantastic new hub building.

“Children and young people, staff, parents and the local community worked closely with the design team to ensure the design of the campus reflects the educational aspirations of the council, while also taking into account the requirements of the local community and the natural heritage and architecture of the area.”

 

Hannah, a House Captain at Chryston Primary School, added: “I was completely stunned to see our new school – it’s amazing. We love the new classrooms and the outdoor areas.”

The £ 22 million facility also includes a new Community Health Clinic for NHS Lanarkshire, replacing the Muirhead clinic, which will open later next month.

Professor Jann Gardner, Chief Executive, NHS Lanarkshire, said:

“This entire development is an outstanding local facility. People in and around Chryston will now have access to a wonderful modern health and care clinic that delivers key services in the heart of their community.

“The purpose of this new centre has always been to enable and facilitate fundamental positive change, not simply replace the previous health centre building and services. This state-of-the-art centre will provide an opportunity to further tackle health inequalities by improving the delivery of services – shaping them around the needs of patients.

“This will build stronger co-operation between patients, their carers and families, NHS staff and all partner agencies.”

The new facilities at the Lanrig Park site boast impressive outdoor and indoor sports facilities with a bike ability track, a multi-use games area, an outdoor amphitheatre, covered outdoor teaching areas and various outdoor play equipment and both indoor and outdoor chutes.

Some of the community benefits in developing the Workforce for the Future included:

  • Four apprentices started during the construction of the hub.
  • 70 days of work experience/placements on site.
  • 11 Educational activities, which included: design, cost and build of bug hotels with the pupils of Chryston Primary School. Design and build of viewing platform with the construction class students at Chryston High School.

Robertson Construction pledged a community fund of £15,000 Five groups have been awarded a share to enable them to fulfil their requirements such as an outdoor forestry education programme, health and wellbeing project, and community garden.

There are extensive landscaped playground areas for the school including growing areas and sandpits, healthcare gardens and community greenspaces and new paths have been designed encourage active travel to and from the new hub.

The new Chryston Community Hub also features:

  • Electric vehicle charging spaces
  • Changing places and breastfeeding friendly facilities
  • Drama box/stage area with ballet bars and mirrors
  • Digital learning area and multi-purpose room
  • Demonstration kitchen for children
  • Meeting rooms
  • Shared staff zone

Chryston’s new school and health clinic is being delivered by council development partner Hub South West, lead designer Ryder Architects, with the build being carried out by Robertson Construction.

The new Chryston Community Hub was jointly funded by North Lanarkshire Council and NHS Lanarkshire.

The new facility is a core part of North Lanarkshire Council’s plan for the area, which prioritises investment in education, skills development, and employment opportunities to ensure residents have access to the resources they need to thrive.

 

Source: North Lanarkshire Council

One of the buildings created for other schools by Losberger De Boer

Temporary building plan is major step to getting children back to school at St Clere’s in wake of RAAC crisis

ONE of the borough schools most affected by the Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) crisis is St Clere’s secondary in Stanford-le-Hope, where headteacher Jon Purkiss has just announced plans for a new, large temporary building.

The school, on Butts Lane, has a significant amount of RAAC across its complex of buildings, meaning students have been on a rota system and had to have home learning.

Mr Purkiss believe it is vital students return all students to full-time face-to-face learning as soon as possible and now the school, run by the Osborne Trust, has had its solution approved by the Department for Education (DfE) – which will also fund the temporary building to be sited upon the school field, which will create 30 teaching spaces.

Mr Purkiss has told parents:

“We welcomed Baroness Barran (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for the School System and Student Finance) and representatives from the DfE to our school for the final sign off for the project.

“Losberger De Boer are constructing our temporary facility and work will begin immediately.

“This company is providing similar solutions at other RAAC affected schools across the country. The temporary classrooms will be positioned on the school field in the space between the Pavilion and 3G pitch.

“We await a final timeline for handover for this project, however, it remains our aspiration to have this solution available for use shortly after the half-term break in November.

“The conversion of the sports hall in the main building continues to progress as scheduled, and we expect this project to be completed during half term. This will provide four classrooms and a further three smaller areas that can be used for smaller teaching groups.

“Presently, the corridors to this sports hall are affected by RAAC. However, work has started to install approved mitigations to open them, as a result will allow safe access to the new classrooms. The mitigations

“In the main building work will continue into the New Year to allow safe access to teaching spaces which are currently closed. The suggested completion date for all mitigations in the main building is Spring 2024. Due to the complexity of this work, I must stress this is an aspirational completion date.

“In the long term the roof of the main building will need to be replaced. This is a decision for the future however, we hope this will lead to St Clere’s School being added to the new build programme.

“The support and patience from our school community during this period has been warmly welcomed by the staff at St Clere’s, enabling us to focus on learning after having to close 40 teaching spaces on 31 August.

“We understand the impact remote learning has for our students and families, but this initial phase is thankfully coming to an end. The return to full-time face-to-face learning for all our students is in sight.

“I will write to you again before the half-term break with an update on progress and to outline the plans for our return to school on Monday, 6 November.”

Source: Thurock Nub News