What to do if your child’s school is affected by the RAAC concrete closures?

After the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents hoped the days of remote learning were behind them and their children. However, recent news that over 100 schools have been forced to suddenly close due to safety fears over concrete has forced some pupils in England and Wales to start their school terms online or in temporary facilities.  


At the time of writing, it’s unclear how many schools will be ultimately affected, or how many were built with RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) – a lightweight type of “bubbly” concrete used in building schools, hospitals, universities, and other public buildings from the 1950s to mid-1990s. This concrete looks like regular concrete but is liable to become weaker as it ages and potentially collapse. 

If your children are pupils at any of the affected schools, you may be facing uncertainty about what’s going to happen, whether you need to plan for home schooling again, or when your children’s school might be safe.  

We’ve been here before. The COVID-19 pandemic taught us a lot about adapting to unpredictable circumstances, so we at Mental Health UK wanted to remind you about some of the ways you can cope with the uncertainty of the current situation and what to do if you are affected.

  1. Focus on what you can control. During uncertain times, circumstances outside of our control can trigger anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. It’s important to try to focus on what you can control and take steps to assert that control in your life. If you’re worried about whether your child’s school is affected, you can contact the school directly and ask if the building has been surveyed, or what their plan is for ensuring the school is safe and parents are supported
  2. Try not to jump ahead. Take every day and every problem as it comes. It can help to have a plan, but not at the expense of your mental health.
  3. Talk to your employer and other parents about the situation. Contact other parents with children who are school-age. Find out what they are doing regardless of whether their children’s schools are affected. You can coordinate your efforts to get more information from your schools or share plans for ensuring your kids don’t experience too much disruption while they attend online lessons. If you’re worried about working from home, talk to your line manager at work about the situation and try to figure out ways to work from home while the situation is resolved
  4. Return to your plan from lockdown. If your children were school-age during COVID-19 lockdowns, return to the tried and tested structure you used to get through that time. Work to a similar schedule, with structured meal and break times, and try to stick to them. Our blog from COVID-19 has a great structure you can adapt while working from home
  5. Look after your children’s mental health. Remember that this disruption also affects your children and their wellbeing. Talk to them about any worries they might have around lessons, seeing their friends, or their safety after returning to school. Provide a space for them to discuss their concerns and reassure them that everything is being done to ensure their safety. We have great resources from our young people’s programme, Bloom, on how to check in with our kids’ mental health. 

Each school will be putting in place a plan of action which might include delaying the start of term until the situation is properly assessed, holding remote learning sessions in place of lessons in the affected rooms/buildings, referring year groups to other unaffected schools or instigating alternative safety measures to reduce the safety risk.  

As yet, ministers have not published a list of those schools affected but if you are uncertain we would encourage you to approach your school to understand whether there are any implications for your child’s schooling. 

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