Rishi Sunak has apologised for the disruption faced by students at Scalby School after they expressed concerns about the impact of RAAC on their studies.

On a visit to Scarborough on Thursday (Jan 25), Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was sorry about the impact that crumbling concrete has had on students’ studies. 

However, he also defended the Government’s record, stating that “it was right that we took action when we did”. 

The presence of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in Scarborough’s Scalby School has forced it to close two-thirds of its space. 

Speaking to reporters after visiting the Construction Skills Village in Eastfield, Scarborough, Rishi Sunak admitted that it had been “a difficult period for people to get through, particularly parents who were impacted by it”. 

The prime minister said: “I know there’s one school locally that has been impacted. 

“I’m pleased kids everywhere are back in face-to-face learning, and we’ve been very clear that we will make sure we fix all the issues of RAAC, either with specific support for the schools in question, or through our regular school rebuilding program.”

Scalby School was identified as having RAAC in March 2023 but updated guidance from the Department for Education in August meant that 17 classrooms were cordoned off before the beginning of the autumn term. 

The school has had a set of Portakabin buildings – known as the “Village” – delivered and installed to replace classrooms that cannot be used. 

During his visit to Scarborough, Rishi Sunak also said that there were “a handful of other schools that are new and being invested in” which he said demonstrated “the Government’s commitment to schools particularly in this area”.  

He added that “less than one per cent of schools [were] affected in the end” and that all children were now back to face-to-face learning.

“I know it’s been disruptive, and I’m sorry about that, but when something like that happens, you really do just need to move quickly to resolve the issues,” the prime minister said.

Scalby School has been given an additional £37,000 to provide after-school lessons, according to the Government.