FOURTEEN schools across the North East have been told to close their doors over concerns they are built with crumbling concrete.

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

The Department for Education (DfE) said a minority of facilities may have to move completely while some pupils will be forced back into online learning.

Read more: 'Short-term disruption is inevitable': North East schools could face closure

Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (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.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said on Friday (September 1) the collapse of a beam previously considered safe over the summer sparked an urgent rethink on whether buildings with aerated concrete could remain open.

Schools began informing parents of closures on Thursday with sites across the region affected as Education Secretary Gillian Keegan sought to reassure parents most schools are unaffected.

Councils in Stockton, Newcastle, Redcar & Cleveland, Gateshead, Sunderland, North Yorkshire and North Tyneside all said they were not aware of any schools in their areas affected by the issue – although many schools run as academies fall out of council control.

The Northern Echo contacted all local authorities in the region and will bring updates here as and when we hear more.

Here are the affected schools in the North East

Ferryhill School, Ferryhill

Ferryhill School in County Durham confirmed in a letter to parents that two of its buildings are affected by the dangerous RAAC.

The school will be closed to all students for another week until Monday, September 11 when it will welcome new Year 7 starters. Other students will be forced to return to pandemic-style online lessons.

Read more here

St Teresa’s Primary School, Darlington

St Teresa’s in Darlington has become the first school in the town to be closed after RAAC was found on the premises.

The headteacher has announced that the school will closed until at least September 11 while surveyors inspect the property.

Mrs Paula Strachan said: “I need to let you know that on advice from the Department for Education, our Trust has taken the difficult decision to close St Teresa's for the safety of the children.

“I appreciate that this news is distressing but I would like to assure you that, as always, our school family and their safety is our priority.”

Read more here

St James’ Catholic Primary School, Hebburn

St James’ Catholic Primary School in Hebburn, South Tyneside has informed parents it will be closed when kids are due to return on Tuesday (September 5).

The school was first inspected back in May and part of the building closed in July but has now been told the entire site will close.

Read more here

Carmel College and Sixth Form, Darlington

Carmel College and Sixth Form have become the first college in Darlington to be affected by RAAC.

Both are part of the Bishop Hogarth Catholic Trust which have been approached for comment.

Read more here

St Leonard’s Catholic School, Durham

St Leonard’s was contacted by the Department for Education on Thursday confirming it had RAAC in its buildings. Part of the school will have to close.

Durham MP Mary Kelly Foy branded the situation “shambolic” as she said the school had been left without time to arrange alternative sites to ensure learning was not disrupted.

Read more here

St Benet's Catholic Primary School, Chester-le-Street

St Benet's, which is part of the Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust, confirmed over the weekend it affected by RAAC and will have to close.

It said it would communicate with parents but did not set a date for reopening.

More on this story shortly

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St Bede’s Catholic School, Peterlee

St Bede’s Catholic School in Easington has been confirmed as one of the schools affected by RAAC. Grahame Morris, MP for Easington, confirmed that he has contacted the school to offer his support.

This comes just days before the school was due to re-open next week.

Read more here

Scalby School, Scarborough

North Yorkshire Council has confirmed that Scalby School in Scarborough has been asked to close buildings. 

The school has been forced to delay reopening for a week and said that "significant parts of the school site are affected" by the concrete.

Read more here

St Anne's Catholic Primary School, Gateshead

St Anne's is the first and only school told to close its buildings in Gateahead.

It is part of the Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust which said: "We are working hard to liaise with both the DfE and the affected school teams to ensure remedial arrangements are put in place as soon as is possible in order to minimise disruption to our children’s education."

More on this story shortly

Byron Sixth Form, Peterlee

Byron Sixth Form Peterlee will also be affected after having RAAC found in the premises. Grahame Morris, MP for Easington, has reached out to the institution to offer his support.

He explained that schools grappling with the crisis deserve support from the government to make sure that no child’s education is impacted.

Read more here

St John Bosco Catholic Primary School, Sunderland

St John Bosco has become the first primary school in Sunderland to close after crumbling concrete was found in the property.

It is the third school in the Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust to close.

Read more here

St John Vianney Catholic Primary School, West Denton

St John Vianney Catholic Primary School, in West Denton, Newcastle, has been confirmed to have RAAC, the Department for Education has announced today (September 6).

Currently, the DfE believes that all students will still receive face-to-face education.

St Columba's Catholic Primary School, Wallsend

St Columba's in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, also has RAAC - though is expected to still be able to offer all students face-to-face teaching. 

St Thomas More Catholic School, Blaydon

Another Tyne and Wear school, St Thomas More Catholic School, will be affected after RAAC was found on the premises. 

School chiefs are anticipating that pupils will be taught through a mix of in-person and remote learning until the affected buildings can be made safe.  

This is a developing story. We will update this list throughout the day.