WORK to rebuild the schools worst affected by the crumbling concrete crisis in Essex will take a “few years” to complete, the county council has said.

A total of 46 schools in the county where collapse-prone reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) is present will have at least one building rebuilt or refurbished under measures announced by the government yesterday.

Another 22 schools in the county will receive grants to fund the removal of Raac from their buildings where works will typically be smaller in scale.

Essex County Council said it is “too early to provide any detail on specific schools” but added the Department for Education (DfE) has “indicated projects will be delivered over the next few years”.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Programme - White Hall Academy is one of the schools affected by RaacProgramme - White Hall Academy is one of the schools affected by Raac (Image: Steve Brading)

A spokesman said: “The DfE has also indicated we should know when works are planned to start by the end of the summer term.

“In the meantime, we are confident the correct structural mitigations are in place to ensure buildings affected by Raac are safe.

“Inclusion in the school rebuilding programme does not guarantee the demolition of current buildings and delivery of new ones.

“A feasibility study will determine whether the best solution is a new building or refurbishment and retrofit in each case.”


The Gilberd School, one of the biggest schools in Colchester, is included in the programme.

Executive headteacher Linda Exley said the school’s appointed contractors are “continuing apace” with remedial works.

She said: “Following this very recent announcement, a meeting has been scheduled with the DfE next week to discuss the long-term plan and how this may affect the Gilberd School.”

James Saunders, headteacher at Honywood School in Coggeshall, confirmed 22 classrooms at the school remain closed, with pupils making good use of temporary school buildings in what it dubs the “Space Village”.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: School boss - Linda Exley, executive headteacher at the GilberdSchool boss - Linda Exley, executive headteacher at the Gilberd

He said the DfE has confirmed the work to remove Raac at Honywood “will be extensive”.

Elsewhere, Ellie Eames, headteacher at White Hall Academy in Clacton, confirmed architects are visiting the school next week to assess the ongoing impact of Raac.

“We may have to relocate 14 classes,” she said.

She added plans are already in place for if the school needs to close for more than a week.