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Stour Valley Community School, near Haverhill and Sudbury, moves all music lessons into main school after discovery of RAAC at site

A lightweight form of concrete has been discovered in a school’s music block ceiling, a headteacher has said, and emergency works are taking place.

Stour Valley Community School in Clare, near Sudbury and Haverhill, appeared yesterday on the Government list of education settings with confirmed RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete).

Responding to SuffolkNews, headteacher Rachel Kelly, said the music block building had been closed and all music department lessons had been temporarily moved into the main school.

Stour Valley Community School in Clare. Picture: Google Maps
Stour Valley Community School in Clare. Picture: Google Maps

She said Stour Valley Educational Trust Limited carried out a visual inspection of its schools in May as required and reported back to the Department for Education (DfE) that no RAAC could be seen.

“By the start of the new school year, RAAC became a greater concern with media reporting extensive issues with several schools, and the trust decided it would be prudent to appoint an external surveyor to carry out an intrusive survey to be absolutely certain no hidden RAAC was present,” said Mrs Kelly.

“This took place over October half term and confirmed that there was RAAC present in the ceiling of the upper floor of our music block at Stour Valley Community School.

“This floor is used mainly for music practice and peripatetic [visiting music teachers] lessons.

“This was immediately reported to the DfE who instructed the school to close the entire music block building, which is separate from the rest of the school buildings.

“Our music department has been temporarily moved within the main school and all lessons - including peripatetic music - are continuing.

“Emergency work to prop the upper floor music block ceiling is under way, and once completed the music room on the ground floor can be fully reinstated.”

She explained that phase two mitigation work, which will use wooden or metal beams to support the RAAC in-situ, will be drawn up, and it is hoped this work will be completed over the Easter holiday, after which they will be able to fully utilise the entire music block.

“At present, the DfE has not published plans as to how phase three remedial works - to actually remove the RAAC - will be actioned,” she added.

There are now nine Suffolk schools known to contain RAAC.