Durham MP Mary Kelly Foy demands answers after Raac found in local school

The rebuilding of a Durham secondary school found to have crumbling concrete should be “accelerated”, a Labour MP has said.

Mary Kelly Foy complained of a lack of progress following the discovery of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) at St Leonard’s Catholic School, North End.

Speaking in the House of Commons, she said parents and staff at the Durham school “deserved answers”.

Education secretary Gillian Keegan said the government would “support” safe education at the school.

The school is one of several in in north-east England forced to make changes to teaching since structural issues on the school site were highlighted.

Currently, some classes have moved to online learning, while some face-to-face teaching is taking place in makeshift classrooms.

Speaking in Parliament, Ms Foy asked Ms Keegan when a previously-approved rebuild would take place.

She also sought clarification on when funding for alternative spaces to continue teaching in the meantime would be approved,

It comes after the school’s head teacher told parents earlier this month that it may continue teaching at external sites including Durham University, County Hall and Ushaw College.

In response to the concerns raised, Ms Keegan said she was “delighted” that the school had a mix of face-to-face and remote learning, adding staff had “done a fantastic job to enable that”.

“In terms of the school rebuilding, we’ll be making those decisions with the project directors we have on site in St Leonard’s.

“We’ll be looking to the short-term mitigations and medium-term, and when we should do the rebuilding as well.”

She added that the government would support the school to “make sure children are safely educated”.

There has now been 174 school and colleges in England where Raac has been discovered in building materials, prompting some establishments to rely on remote arrangements.

It is a rise of 27 on a previous tally of impacted buildings released by the government earlier this month.