'Serious risk of imminent failure' for 90 Suffolk school buildings

Pupils in a school classroom

Nearly 100 schools in Suffolk have been found in need of 'immediate' repairs in a report from the Department for Education (DfE). - Credit: Hongqi Zhang

Nearly 100 schools in Suffolk have been found in need of "immediate" repairs in a report from the Department for Education (DfE).

Ninety schools in the county were given a 'D' rating for at least one building on their premises, meaning they are deemed "life expired and/or serious risk of imminent failure".

Categorised by parliamentary constituency, these 90 schools are spread as follows: 17 in Bury St Edmunds, 15 in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, seven in Ipswich, 14 in South Suffolk, 14 in Suffolk Coastal, nine in Waveney and 14 in West Suffolk.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: "Just like our homes, from time to time school buildings will need repairs and we make these as quickly and efficiently as possible.

"These may range from broken lighting, an uneven playground or something substantial like roof repairs, which need urgent attention.

"As well as the review by the Department for Education, we carry out regular checks on our buildings. Health and safety within our school buildings is incredibly important to us."

The government's Condition Data Collection (CDC) programme is designed to collect data on the building condition of government-funded schools in England. 

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Following visits to every state school in England between 2017 and 2019, surveyors collected data on 22,031 schools, comprising 63,942 teaching blocks.

One key finding from the programme was that it would cost £11.4billion to repair or replace all defective elements in the school estate.

Though data relating to England as a whole was published in May 2021, parliamentary constituency and local authority-specific data was only set out after a parliamentary question at the end of last month.

Following calls to make the report's findings public, director of capital at the DfE Rory Kennedy has recently confirmed that the government will publish a summary report later this year.

Many are still pushing for the reports to be published in full, but Mr Kennedy warned that schools could be "deluged by various contractors who may or may not be qualified approaching them for work".