Department for Education plans to rebuild and repair schools across England may not be enough to “eliminate risk” across the estate, its permanent secretary has admitted.
The admission came during a Parliamentary public accounts committee (PAC) hearing today, in which Susan Acland-Hood was quizzed about the rapidly deteriorating school estate.
Alongside Acland-Hood, DfE director general of schools Andrew McCully and director general for strategy, Graham Archer, also gave evidence.
Here’s what we learned.
School building plans may not ‘eliminate risk’
Acland-Hood warned there was no form of condition survey that will “reliably guarantee it has picked up every possible issue a building might suffer”.
Current efforts to address the issue include the school rebuilding programme, which will see 500 schools partially or fully rebuilt. There is also ongoing research into the use of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) across schools.
The government also provides annual maintenance funding to schools, trusts and councils.
Pressed by MPs, Acland-Hood said:
“If the question is am I confident that the scale of programmes we have at the moment will eliminate risk across the school estate, I can’t say that.
“What I can say is we have got the best possible information we have to allow us to target the money in the programmes we have at the areas of greatest risk.”
Source: Schools Week