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‘You’re letting our children down over RAAC’, daily tells ministers

A regional daily has accused ministers of “letting children down” as the RAAC crisis continues to “cause havoc” for schools across its patch.

The Northern Echo has hit out on its front page this morning after compiling a special report into how the issue is affecting pupils in the North-East of England.

The problem has closed four schools in County Durham after their buildings were deemed unsafe due to crumbling reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete being used in their construction.

It has left some families facing daily round trips of 16 miles to get children to school and makeshift classrooms holding more than 100 pupils.

NE children

On its front page today, the Darlington-based Echo accused the Department for Education of “letting our children down”.

The accompanying report was compiled by local democracy reporter Bill Edgar, who covers County Durham and Darlington, and trainee reporter Kayleigh Fraser.

In a post on X yesterday, Echo editor Gavin Foster wrote: “‘You’re letting our children down’ – that’s the message on tomorrow’s Northern Echo to [Education Minister] Gillian Keegan and DfE.

“A report from Bill Edgar and Kayleigh Fraser examines the desperate situation of the worsening crumbling schools crisis.”

Speaking to HTFP, he added: “This really is a desperate situation for these children.

“A hundred pupils crammed into makeshift classrooms and some youngsters won’t be back to proper teaching until 2026.

“Many of these children have already had two years of their education disrupted because of Covid and face a further two years of chaos which cannot fail to damage their education and could seriously hamper their potential.

“I said before how abysmal the handling of this situation has been by the government and it just gets worse. This can’t be ignored.”

When asked about the RAAC crisis, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “We’re working as quickly as possible providing the funding to schools, to get the surveys done to help them put mitigations in place so we can get all our kids back and face-to-face education as quickly as possible.”