Parliament returned from its summer break this week and the one topic of discussion was about the Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) in some schools. This is a material used in the construction of many public buildings between the 1960s and 1990s. Its ability to support buildings is much lower than other types of reinforced concrete – and this gets worse if water is present (for instance from leaking roofs). I pressed the Education Secretary on RAAC in schools (see here) and the most senior civil servant at the Department of Education will be in front of the Public Accounts Committee this Monday – so watch this space.
The Public Accounts Committee also held a session with health officials about the 40 new hospitals that were pledged by Boris Johnson's government. There's a big gulf between that promise and the reality. And, of course, we touched on the seven hospitals that are built entirely out of RAAC. So do look out for our report on that in due course.
And I was pleased to be out and about at Morningside Primary School where Outdoor People, a social enterprise set up by local woman Cath Prisk, was working with the school to encourage children in outdoor learning and play. Cath was ahead of the curve in understanding the importance of outdoor activity and it’s great to see schools embracing this.