A Durham school has been told it has crumble-risk concrete in its buildings days before the new term is due to start.

St Leonard’s in Durham City was told on Thursday (August 31) that it has reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in its construction months after surveys were carried out in the spring.

Parents were informed on Friday afternoon.

It becomes the fifth school in the region to find out it has dangerous concrete as more than 100 schools nationwide were told they would have to fully or partially close.

Read more: County Durham school forced to delay new term over crumbling concrete fears

In an email to parents the school said it hopes to make a full devision on how to support pupils by Sunday afternoon.

The letter, signed by headteacher Chris Hammill, said: "I received a call yesterday (Thursday) afternoon at 2.30pm informing us that we are one of the schools affected.

"From our initial understanding we may be able to use some limited buildings and are currently thinking through how we best support our pupils at this time. 

"Our aim is to share this with families over the weekend, most probably Sunday afternoon.

"This is a very difficult time for all of us; first and foremost, our pupils. We are so disappointed at the timing of this decision in terms of being able to put solutions in place.

"I know families will share this frustration and I urge us all to consider writing to our local MPs at this time."

Durham MP Mary Kelly Foy said: "That the school has only been informed days before term was due to begin beggars' belief, leaving the school without time to arrange alternative sites to ensure learning is not disrupted, and leaving parents with little time to arrange work, or childcare commitments.

"This situation is utterly shambolic, schools should be safe havens for children and ministers must be held accountable.

"The government has been aware of the structural flaws of RAAC in school buildings since 2018.

"I am utterly appalled by the failure to prepare for this eventuality, proving that the government has sunk to a new level of rank incompetence.

"This is a national disgrace, and a scandal that is unquestionably the product of over 13 years of negligent and damaging Tory rule."

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.

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.”

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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 safety of children and staff in our schools is of the utmost importance.

“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.”