The schools built with concrete that is 'susceptible to failure'

More than a third of school buildings in England are past their life expectancy with on-going concerns that hundreds of schools have been built using a lightweight concrete that is "susceptible to failure".

A report from the National Audit Office (NAO, 2023) says that around 700,000 children are being educated in schools requiring major rebuilding or refurbishment work.

The condition of school buildings report confirms what the NAO calls a “significant funding shortfall” which it says has contributed to the “deterioration of the school estate”.

There are 64,000 individual school buildings in England and the report says that 38% (around 24,000) are “beyond their estimated initial design life”. These buildings can normally continue to be used but are more expensive to maintain and run.

The estimated life for school buildings is 60 to 80 years for non-system-built school buildings and 30 to 40 years for system-built blocks, which use materials such as concrete and steel that are assembled and then transported to the site.

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