Raac: Durham school may not fully reopen for two years as rebuilding planned

St Leonard's Catholic School in Durham was forced to partially close before the start of term when Raac was found in the building. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A school may not fully reopen for two years after being forced to partially close when reinforced autoclaves aerated concrete (Raac) was found in the building.

St Leonard's Catholic School, in Durham, initially had to move most of its learning online when it became one of many schools across the country to find Raac on its site.

Parents staged a protest at the school last month when it was visited by government minister Baroness Barran to assess the situation.

It has now been put on the fast-track list for rebuilding and planning work is already underway.

It is hoped that building work will begin by the Autumn of 2024 and it is expected to take up to two years to complete.

Parents of children at St Leonard's School staged a protest last month to coincide with Baroness Barran's visit. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

In the meantime, the school will utilise Durham University building Ushaw College and temporary buildings on the playing fields and car park to get all students back into full-time face-to-face teaching after half-term.

A spokesperson from Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust, which runs the school, said: “St Leonard’s Catholic School in Durham, has been working hard with trust colleagues and the DfE (Department for Education) to put sustainable plans in place and all students will be in face-to-face teaching from Monday 30 October.

"At the outset of this challenging situation, the surveyors confirmed that several rooms at St Leonard’s were safe to occupy and Raac free. Over the last few weeks staff and students have been accessing these teaching areas.

"St Leonard’s has been earmarked for a new build as part of the Schools Rebuilding programme. The feasibility and design stages have already taken place and work on site is expected to commence in Autumn 2024.”

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