Two Enfield schools contain unsafe concrete and third suspected, council now confirms

All three local schools affected by the Raac crisis remain open and pose “no danger” to pupils or staff, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

St Ignatius' College in Bulls Cross (credit Google)
St Ignatius’ College in Bulls Cross (credit Google)

Two schools in Enfield are now known to contain a type of concrete that is prone to collapse, with a suspected third undergoing surveys.

Enfield Council confirmed today (Wednesday 6th) that St Ignatius’ College in Bulls Cross and Winchmore School in Winchmore Hill had identified reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) on their sites.

Churchfield Primary School, in Edmonton, currently has surveyors on site to establish whether Raac is present.

The concrete material, used in the construction of schools and other public buildings from the 1950s to the 1990s, has a lifespan of around 30 years.

Last week, the government told 104 schools to stop using buildings known to contain Raac until safety measures had been put in place. It said more than 50 schools had already installed “mitigations” this year.

Following the announcement, Enfield Council said no schools in the borough had been contacted by the Department for Education (DfE) and asked to find alternative locations to teach as a result of building safety concerns.

Today, however, the government finally published its full list of education settings with confirmed Raac on their sites. St Ignatius’ College, a voluntary-aided secondary school, was the only Enfield school on the list, and DfE said all its pupils remain in face-to-face education.

But the council has now issued a statement confirming that Winchmore School, a state secondary, also has Raac “in a small part of the school in a changing room and corridor ceiling, between the changing room and the sports hall”. It said the area had been “sealed off for some time”.

A council spokesperson said: “The health and safety of staff and pupils is our top priority and Enfield Council has been working closely with all local schools to identify whether they have been affected by the recent issues with Raac.

“We are aware of three schools impacted and can confirm that no schools have had to close. All Enfield schools were able to open for the return of the academic year.

“Winchmore School has identified Raac in a small part of the school in a changing room and corridor ceiling, between the changing room and the sports hall. This area has been sealed off for some time so there is no danger to staff and pupils.

“St Ignatius’ College has identified Raac in different parts of the school but this is also in an area of the school that has been sealed off.

“A third school, Churchfield Primary School, which is part of the Ivy Trust, has surveyors on site identifying whether they may have Raac. The Department for Education is sending surveyors to the school in the next couple of weeks, but there is not a specific safety concern at this time.

“Enfield Council is not aware of any other schools in the borough that have been impacted.

“This situation continues to unfold, and Enfield Council will continue to work closely with all our local schools to support them as fully as possible through this challenging period.”

Update (8th September):

An Ivy Learning Trust spokesperson said: “Due to the year it was constructed, Churchfield Primary School was inspected by qualified building surveyors, appointed by the DfE, on 6th September 2023 and no Raac was found.”

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