Myton School Pupil Adjusts to Mixed Learning amidst Raac Disruptions


In the face of a mixed learning experience due to the use of autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac), Elliot, a pupil from Myton School in Warwick, adjusts to a new “normal.” It has been hinted that the government may soon issue a reassessment of its official roster of schools in England impacted by Raac. In addition, the Department for Education (DfE) is expected to be pressed on its strategy to handle the disruption that have thrown schools and colleges into turmoil.

During the period ending August 30th, officials identified 147 schools in England impacted by Raac amidst weekly checks of hundreds of schools. These disruptions have left many parents with a sense of abandonment. Among them is Fay Arrundale whose son, Elliot, has had his secondary education turned topsy-turvy by the closure of several buildings at Myton School due to the presence of Raac.

Currently, the school employs a system where different year groups attend classes on alternate weeks. Elliot, like more than 22,000 pupils across England, is now ingrained in a combination of conventional and remote learning due to Raac. Dealing with Elliot’s online sessions is proving a challenge for Fay, a self-employed individual with a workload that is not flexible. Elliot struggles with maintaining focus during online learning and requires the structure that physical school provides.

In her view, Myton School’s handling of the efforts have been commendable. However, she laments that there is no clear expectation of when a return to normalcy may occur while the process of securing portable classrooms continues at a slow crawl. She likens the struggles, disappointments and the feel of abandonment to the COVID-19 global crisis.

Built between the 1950s and 1960s, Myton School’s main buildings are deemed archaic and in dire need of repair. Consequently, the school’s head teacher applied for additional financing through the government’s school rebuilding program, only to encounter rejection with the DfE alleging that further schools were in worse states of disrepair.

The use of Raac, a lightweight material that served as a cheaper alternative to standard concrete with a lifespan of approximately 30 years, was a common practice in the construction of flat roofing, floors and walls from the 1950s to 1990s. Shortly before the autumn term, the DfE revised its guidelines, instructing schools previously determined as safe, to close any areas with Raac that lacked necessary safety measures.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, regards the updated list as a positive action. Nevertheless, he criticizes the government for its reactive rather than proactive approach. Some schools, he emphasized, are still grappling with overwhelming logistical issues in the absence of a timeline for resolve.

On Tuesday, DfE’s permanent secretary, Susan Acland-Hood, and Education Minister Baroness Barran are anticipated to shed light on the ongoing predicament before the Education Committee. The distress and anxiety enshrouding families and school staff have not evaded the notice of the Education Committee’s chairman, Robin Walker, who stresses their shared urgency to unearth the root of the dilemma, strategize resolutions and deduce lessons for the future.

The DfE has stood its ground concerning its decision to amend its guidance barely before the start of the term, attributing its choice to three incidents during the summer. Education Secretary Gillian Keegan asserts that they have been steadfastly working to minimize disruption and prioritize safety for pupils and staff alike.

Beyond England, 16 local authorities in Scotland disclosed the presence of Raac in their schools while surveys are slated for 120 schools across Northern Ireland. In Wales, two schools have temporarily shut their doors for checks and another has brought a blend of physical and remote learning into play for their students.


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