Market Harborough school added to the list of those with dangerous concrete

The Department for Education says any affected space should be vacated
St Joseph's was found to contain the concreteSt Joseph's was found to contain the concrete
St Joseph's was found to contain the concrete

A Market Harborough school has been revealed to have concrete which is at risk of collapsing.

Primary school St Joseph’s Catholic Voluntary Academy has been added to government’s list of those with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

It is a lightweight form of concrete which is weaker than normal and could be prone to collapsing. Concerns have been raised about the long-term durability of the material and the Department for Education instructed last month that any affected space should be vacated.

At St Joseph’s it can be found in the school hall, school kitchen and a small storage cupboard, the trust which operates it has confirmed.

The school is one of 27 which government recently added to the list. This brings the number of affected schools in the country to 174.

Fears about the concrete led to thousands of pupils across the country having the start of the new academic year disrupted as some schools had to close buildings or classrooms.

The St Thomas Aquinas Multi Academy Trust, under the umbrella of which St Joseph falls, said teaching has been able to continue as normal.

A spokesman for the trust said: “We received confirmation from a building surveyor that RAAC had been identified in the school hall, school kitchen and a small storage cupboard. The decision was immediately taken to close off these areas of the school, and parents and carers were made aware at that time.

“Thankfully, the school remains fully open to all pupils with classes operating as normal. We are working with our own contractors and the Department for Education to ensure that remedies are put in place in the spaces affected, and that they are back in use as soon as possible.”

St Joseph’s has joined three Leicester schools - Willowbrook Mead Primary Academy, in Thurnby Lodge; Parks Primary School, in New Parks Crescent; and Mayflower Primary School, in Evington Drive - on the list of local schools affected.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, said: “We are taking a cautious approach so every parent in England can be reassured their child is safe in their school.

“We will continue to work closely with affected schools and provide both expert and financial support to minimise disruption and keep staff and children safe.”