Two more North East primary schools have been forced to close amid concerns classrooms could collapse due to a crumble-risk concrete.

Last Thursday (August 31) more than 100 schools and colleges were told to partially or fully close their buildings days before they were due to welcome pupils back after the summer holidays.

As of Friday (September 1) nine schools across the region had told parents they had to change plans for the new term after potentially dangerous reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) was found.

Read more: LISTED: The North East schools forced to close over collapse-risk concrete fears

Now parents at two more primary schools have been left to find alternative childcare arrangements for this week after they had to close.

St Benet’s Catholic Primary School in Ouston, Chester-le-Street and St Anne’s Catholic Primary in Gateshead both revealed over the weekend they too are affected.

It takes the number of schools closed in our region to 11.

In a post on Facebook the Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust, which both schools are part of, said: “DfE-commissioned surveys recently identified that RAAC panels were used in the construction of three of our Trust school buildings. On the afternoon of Thursday August 31, the Trust was directed by the DfE they have taken the difficult decision to temporarily deem the three schools as sites that must not reopen next week.

“Letters and text messages were sent to all staff, parents and carers on the afternoon of Friday September 1.

“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.

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“We absolutely appreciate the real concerns that the temporary closure may cause for our three school communities. We understand the disruption this will cause, however we have not been left with any choice from the DfE than to temporarily close as we put emergency measures in place to ensure our school site safety. We also appreciate that our children will be disappointed as they cannot come back to school to see their friends face to face at the start of the new term.”

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 the collapse of a beam previously considered safe over the summer sparked an urgent rethink on whether buildings with the aerated concrete could remain open.