Suffolk schools have welcomed government help to rebuild classrooms and buildings affected by the discovery of potentially unsafe lightweight concrete.

The concrete has a surface that is slightly crumbly when touched unless it has been heavily painted or coated, according to a government guide, and has been likened to Aero chocolate.

Schools in the county that have had to section off buildings for students and staff due to reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) have been enrolled in the Department for Education's School Rebuilding Programme

These are the schools that require more extensive and complex works, with one or more buildings set to be refurbished. 

A further 110 schools and colleges – where works will typically be smaller in scale – will receive a grant to help them remove RAAC from their buildings.

In Suffolk, seven schools have been enrolled into the programme: Stowupland High School, near StowmarketFarlingaye High School in Woodbridge, Hadleigh High School, Claydon High School, near Ipswich, East Bergholt High School, Thurston Community College, near Bury St Edmunds, and Glade Academy in Brandon. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Stowupland High School, near Stowmarket, has been affected by RAAC.Stowupland High School, near Stowmarket, has been affected by RAAC. (Image: Prominent PR)

Classrooms were closed at Stowupland High School, near Stowmarket, and Years 9 and 10 had to study remotely in November after the discovery of RAAC led to the closure of classrooms.

A spokesperson for John Milton Academy Trust, which runs Stowupland High School, said the trust has also received a letter from the Department for Education to confirm it is on the School Rebuilding Programme list.

The discovery of RAAC has affected Stowupland's library, science laboratories, and humanities rooms, with total loss of 17 learning spaces.

These spaces remain sectioned off for students and staff.

A spokesperson for the Penrose Learning Trust, which runs East Bergholt, Claydon, and Hadleigh secondary schools, and Elmstead Primary School, near Colchester, said: “We can confirm that four of our schools within the trust have been added to the School Rebuilding Programme.

"While we acted quickly to implement temporary measures to minimise disruption to teaching and learning following the initial notification of RAAC, it’s pleasing to see that our schools will now receive the support needed to rebuild or refurbish the areas of concern.

“At this stage, we do not have any further information on the scale or time frames of proposed building works for each of our schools but look forward to receiving more details around next steps in due course.”