Concerns over crumbling concrete which could collapse suddenly have forced a County Durham school to delay the start of the new term.

More than 100 schools and colleges were told on Thursday (August 31) to partially or fully close the buildings just days before kids are set to return after the summer holidays.

The Department for Education (DfE) said a minority of the state facilities may have to move completely and some children may be forced back into pandemic-style remote learning.

Read more: North East schools with crumble-risk concrete set to close

Ferryhill School in County Durham confirmed in an email to parents since posted on social media and seen by the Echo, that two of its buildings are affected by potentially dangerous Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC).

In the email, the school said: “We have undertaken inspection work throughout the summer, and earlier this week the surveying and engineering team confirmed that there are issues in our two main blocks.

“Unfortunately, as a result of this, we are unable to open the building to Ferryhill students on Tuesday September 5, and have no choice but to delay the start of the new school year.”

The school said it plans to welcome new Year 7 starters the following week on Monday September 11 in unaffected parts of the school but other students will be forced to return to online lessons.

It added: “Our main priority is to ensure that all of our students receive face to face education as soon as possible and so we are sourcing alternative venues, as a matter of urgency, in the local area that we can use to ensure students receive high-quality education.”

The Northern Echo has contacted Ferryhill School for comment.

RAAC was used in construction between the 1950s and mid-1990s and is prone to failure. Back in 2018 the roof of a Kent primary school collapsed and RAAC was later found to be to blame.

On Thursday the government said it would not publicly reveal the 104 institutions told to shut buildings.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan told broadcasters: “Most parents should not be worried about this at all.”

The government faced criticism for the timing of the announcement days before the end of the summer break, but Schools Minister Nick Gibb told GB News on Friday morning that “we took the decision as soon as the evidence emerged.”

He added: “We took a very strict decision over the summer, we liaised with experts, and we took a cautious approach to make sure because the safety of children and staff in our schools is of the utmost importance.

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“So we took the decision that the previous policy, which was to take buildings out of use if the RAAC was considered to be in a critical state, we changed that policy yesterday so that any RAAC identified in schools, now those buildings will be taken out of use.

"Parents can be assured that if they haven’t heard from schools, that it is safe to send their children into school.”

But shadow education secretary and Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson said: “We haven’t seen the full list of schools affected. We don’t know where they are, ministers should come clean with parents and set out the full scale of the challenge that we’re facing.”

In June a report from the National Audit Office warned around 700,000 pupils could be attending schools in need of major repairs.