When Rob Rinder probed Nick Gibb on Good Morning Britain, he couldn’t handle the strain.
The return to school after the summer vacations has been thrown into disarray for some families, after the Department for Education (DfE) ordered the closure of more than 100 schools on Thursday.
This is because the schools’ buildings are composed of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac), which is more prone to rapid collapse.
Since 2018, the DfE has been studying RAAC as a possible concern, and on Friday’s GMB, minister Gibb was grilled by Rinder and Charlotte Hawkins.
It didn’t take long for Rinder to play a video of Gibb appearing in parliament earlier this year and ‘making a pledge’ to disclose information on at-risk properties before the summer holiday.
‘That hasn’t happened, has it?’ Hawkins asked flatly.
Gibb replied: ‘Well we will publish – look, this is – this issue is new, it emerged over the summer.’
When I reminded him that he had promised to publish the material before the summer and that it still hadn’t been done, he said it was ‘about something else.’
He said RAAC had been thought to have been safe, but it emerged over the summer that it no longer was, so they ‘took the very big decision [to close schools] over the summer.’
Rinder pointed out that the initial report ‘included Raac … so you thought it was safe and it’s no longer safe?’
‘Correct,’ Gibb responded. Leading Rinder to ask: ‘So when you made that statement in parliament, was it correct or incorrect?’
‘Well I can’t remember what that particular thing is about,’ Gibb insisted, with Rinder losing his patience and reminding him ‘it was about Raac, minister, it was about Raac! It’s what you said!’
It was originally claimed that schools were warned they would have to provide their own emergency housing if facilities were shuttered, but schools minister Gibb refuted this.
However, under criticism from Hawkins and Rinder, he stated on GMB that the government will fund ‘capital expense,’ such as temporary housing. However, he conceded that revenue costs such as transport will be assessed on a ‘case-by-case basis’ for schools.
Rinder questioned Gibb directly if it was ‘time for you to quit,’ to which Gibb replied emphatically that it was not.
The debate sparked outrage on Twitter, aka X, with users flocking to the site to share their thoughts, with one user claiming Rinder was’soul destroying’ the schools minister.
‘Like having this Rob Rinder on #gmb … taking this minister apart,’ another said.’Lies and misdirection getting destroyed.’
‘Rob Rinder and Charlotte Hawkins currently handing Nick Gibbs his a**e on a plate,’ another cheered. ‘Absolutely wonderful.’
According to the DfE, some of the 104 impacted schools may have to close entirely, and some students may be forced to return to Covid pandemic-style remote learning.
The National Audit Office (NAO), the government’s spending watchdog, exposed the status of England’s school buildings in a study released in June.
According to the assessment, 700,000 students were enrolled in schools that needed extensive reconstruction or renovation.
What is RAAC?
RAAC is a lightweight building material used from the 1950s up to the mid-1990s, but now assessed to be at risk of collapse.
It’s a ‘bubbly’ form of concrete usually found in roofs and occasionally in walls and floors.
It looks like normal concrete, but it’s weaker and less durable. RAAC was favoured in construction projects because of its lightweight thermal properties.
Experts say the building material is less durable than reinforced concrete and deteriorates over time, so is susceptible to sudden failure.
It has a life expectancy of little more than 30 years and this means buildings constructed from the 1950s to the 1990s that have not been checked by structural engineers are at risk of collapse.
RAAC is also prone to collapse when wet – which can happen if a building’s roof leaks.
Source My Celebrity Life.