The educational infrastructure investment made by the Welsh Government has yielded positive results, as there have been no new cases of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) identified in Wales.
Yesterday, Education Minister Jeremy Miles announced that all schools in the country are now open to all pupils.
Wales stands out in comparison to other UK nations that have conducted thorough assessments of their school facilities. The incidence of RAAC in Welsh schools is significantly lower, with only five schools identified as containing RAAC.
In contrast, there are 231 such schools in England and 39 in Scotland. Notably, all five schools in Wales that were found to have RAAC have successfully reopened to accommodate all pupils.
The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles said:
“Over the past nine years, we have introduced an extensive programme for the refurbishment and building of new schools and colleges, upgrading and replacing those which are most in need of replacement for safety and quality reasons.
“The fact that so few cases of RAAC have been identified in our schools, only five in Wales in comparison to over 270 elsewhere in the UK, is testament to this Welsh Government’s investment in our learning centres.”
The Welsh Government has increased the level of capital funding available through the Sustainable Communities for Learning programme to £850m for the period 2022/23 to 2024/25 representing an increase of 25% when compared to the 2021/22 baseline. To date more than £2.35 billion has been targeted towards new-build and major refurbishment projects.
Of the 1,463 state-maintained schools in Wales, more than 170 schools benefitted from this investment under the first wave of investment and 200 schools and colleges are benefiting from the current wave. This, together with the fact that the Welsh Government has invested £203m in capital maintenance over the last 4 years means that local authorities and further education institutions in Wales have been able to address key aspects of maintenance to their schools and colleges.
Jeremy Miles added:
“I thank the staff in our schools, councils, colleges and universities for acting swiftly over the past few months to carry out these assessments; and to ensure minimal impact on learners in the small number of buildings that contained RAAC.”