Government to publish update on list of schools affected by crumbling concrete
An updated list of schools in England affected by the collapse-prone concrete will be released on Tuesday. The Department for Education (DfE) will also face questions from MPs about its response to the crisis. So far, 147 schools and colleges have been identified as having reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) on site. Four schools have moved to remote learning for all students, while 20 others have had to offer some remote learning due to the presence of Raac in their buildings. The Education Select Committee will question the DfE minister and top official about the situation.
Watch live as Gillian Keegan takes questions on crumbling concrete
The number of education settings in England at risk of collapse due to crumbling concrete has increased, according to the Department for Education (DfE). An additional 27 schools and colleges have been identified as having reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) on site, bringing the total to 174. One secondary school in east London has switched to remote learning for all students due to Raac, while 23 other schools are offering a mix of in-person and remote lessons. Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said the government is taking a cautious approach to ensure the safety of students.
Concrete crisis: What is Raac and why is it dangerous?
The number of UK schools affected by crumbling reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has risen to 174, according to the Department for Education. RAAC, a type of concrete commonly used in public sector buildings between the 1960s and 1980s, has been found to deteriorate over time, posing a risk of collapse. Education Minister Nick Gibb has said he expects affected schools to be made safe or alternative accommodation to be found quickly, with disruption to lessons limited to a few days. However, the cost of identifying, testing, repairing and replacing damaged RAAC panels is expected to be in the tens of millions of pounds. The Royal Institute of British Architects has called for the development of a national programme to address the issue across all public sector buildings.
Almost 250 temporary classrooms on order to counter school concrete crisis
Almost 250 temporary classrooms have been ordered by at least 29 schools in response to the crumbling concrete crisis in England. The Department for Education’s (DfE) top official told MPs that 11 of those 29 schools with collapse-risk concrete were already operating with temporary classrooms. Permanent secretary Susan Acland-Hood could not say how many temporary classrooms, which have been provided by both the department and local responsible bodies, were being used at those schools.
Crumbling concrete found in dozens more schools
The UK government has identified 27 more schools containing potentially dangerous concrete, bringing the total to 174. The Department for Education called for schools to close buildings or check for reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) before the start of the autumn term, after collapses over the summer. Over 115,000 children are affected by the crumbling concrete. Schools in Essex, Kent, Birmingham and Suffolk are among those affected. The government has urged a “cautious approach” and pledged support to minimise disruption and keep staff and students safe.
New list of schools with 'crumbling concrete' published
The number of education settings in England with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) that is at risk of collapse has increased to 174, according to an updated list from the Department for Education. This is an increase from the original list published at the beginning of September, which identified 147 schools and colleges with RAAC. Of the 174 education settings with RAAC, 148 are offering full-time, face-to-face learning to students. The schools newly identified as having RAAC include Ark John Keats Academy, Baskerville School, Colyton Grammar School, Farnborough College of Technology, and Kingsbury High School, among others. The government is providing support to affected schools to minimise disruption and ensure the safety of staff and students.
Education Secretary says some children like Portakabins more than classrooms at Raac schools
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has claimed that some children prefer temporary Portakabin classrooms to traditional classrooms. Keegan made the comment while updating MPs on how the government is handling the presence of dangerous reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) in schools. Nearly 250 temporary classrooms have been ordered by at least 29 schools in response to the Raac crisis. Unions criticised the Education Secretary’s comments, arguing that children should be learning in modern, permanent classrooms. The Department for Education said that 148 of the 174 education settings with concrete at risk of collapse are now offering face-to-face learning to all pupils.
Children prefer learning in temporary classrooms, Education Secretary claims
Children prefer being taught in temporary buildings rather than classrooms, according to the Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan. Keegan made the claim as she updated MPs on the government’s response to the presence of collapse-risk cement at schools. The Department for Education (DfE) has identified an additional 27 schools or colleges in England with the cement on-site since the end of August. At least 29 schools have ordered almost 250 portable classrooms in response to the crisis. Keegan said she had visited a number of schools where children preferred temporary classrooms.
Sydney was promised its first new selective school in 25 years. Now it’s just one class
The Sydney Morning Herald
The New South Wales (NSW) Labor government has decided to abandon plans for a fully selective high school in south-west Sydney. The decision comes after four years of controversy surrounding the proposed school, with concerns raised about the potential segregation of high-achieving students and increased disadvantage in the public comprehensive system. Instead, the government will invest in a partially selective high school in the area, with a site to be finalised and completed by 2027. The NSW government has allocated $3.5 billion in the state budget for new schools and upgrades.
'Fear mongering' kept 1,000 kids home from Winnipeg school division, superintendent says
Over 1,000 students in a Winnipeg school division were absent on Wednesday following a coordinated campaign of hate and intolerance. Rumours spread via social media that schools would be distributing sexually explicit literature, prompting parents, particularly from the South Asian community, to keep their children at home. The rumours coincided with the "1 Million March 4 Children" protest against LGBTQ-inclusive education and sexual education policies in schools. To address the misinformation, the division's superintendent sent a letter to all parents, including a link to the curriculum. The superintendent apologised for any concerns the letter may have caused.
Kenya’s president commits country to lead multinational force to Haiti to combat gangs
The Globe and Mail
Kenya's President, William Ruto, has committed his country to leading a multinational force in Haiti to combat gang warfare. Gangs have overpowered Haitian police, with estimates suggesting they now control around 80% of the capital since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise. The US has praised Kenya for considering leading the UN-backed force and is drafting a UN Security Council resolution authorising it. However, some Haitians and Kenyans are sceptical about a multinational deployment led by Kenyan police, who have been accused of using deadly force, torture, and other abuses.
Children shouldn’t change pronouns at school without parents’ knowledge, says NHS guidance
New NHS guidance states that children should not be allowed to change their gender pronouns at school without their parents' knowledge. The guidance has been issued as the UK government has repeatedly delayed releasing its own guidance on the matter. The NHS guidance advises that supporting a social transition without parental involvement can create problems within families and is not recommended. It also warns that secrets between parents and children can lead to further issues in the future. The guidance also notes a rise in young people wanting to transition at school without parental knowledge.
Stó:lō Nation to give update on missing children probe at former residential schools, hospital in B.C.
The Stó:lō Nation in British Columbia will provide an update on its work investigating missing children and unmarked burials at former residential school sites and a former hospital. The nation launched a three-year plan in December 2021 to search the grounds of St. Mary's Residential School, Coqualeetza Industrial Institute/Residential School, All Hallows School, and the Coqualeetza Indian Hospital. The Stó:lō First Nation has formed a team called Xyolhmet ye Syewiqwelh (Taking Care of Children) to conduct archival, oral historical, and on-site remote sensing work to search for identifiable unmarked graves at the sites. The nation has utilized remote sensing and imaging technologies such as ground-penetrating radar and drone-based lidar surface mapping and photogrammetry. The goal is to identify Stó:lō children who were sent to residential schools and did not return home. The Canadian government operated residential schools from the 1830s until 1997, forcibly separating Indigenous children from their families in an attempt to assimilate them. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has reported that many Indigenous children who attended the schools never returned home, and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation estimates that around 4,100 children died at the schools, although the true number is likely higher.
‘Pretty frightening’: Wong acknowledges bushfire fears amid climate crisis
The Sydney Morning Herald
Australia's Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, has acknowledged that the country needs to be better prepared for another dangerous bushfire season following a spring heatwave that has left parts of the country at risk of disaster. The unseasonably hot and dry weather has sparked growing concern about Australia's readiness to deal with another catastrophic summer. Wong stated that the government is working with the states to ensure better preparedness for future bushfires. The comments come after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that humanity has "opened the gates of hell" with worsening heatwaves, floods, and wildfires across the globe.
Libyans rally to protect Derna’s orphans
Hundreds of children orphaned by devastating floods in Derna, Libya, have been cared for by volunteers who have provided breastmilk and shelter. Many of the children have lost their parents after two dams broke in the coastal city on 10 September. Women who are still breastfeeding their own children have been collecting and distributing milk. Volunteers have also provided care and attention to the children. The death toll in the floods is estimated to be between 4,000 and more than 11,000. Over 43,000 people have been displaced in the area.
Spanish schoolgirls hit with AI-generated deepfake nude photos
The Sydney Morning Herald
Police in the Spanish town of Almendralejo are investigating the distribution of AI-generated deepfake images showing schoolgirls posing naked. At least 30 girls from four different schools have been targeted, with some also being blackmailed for money to prevent the images from being circulated. The girls involved range in age from 11 to 17. Spanish law dictates that individuals distributing child pornography and committing offences against privacy can face jail terms of between one and five years. However, if the perpetrators are under 18, they will not go to prison.
Quebec Liberals accuse CAQ government of favouritism in construction, renovation of schools
The Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) has accused François Legault's government of favoritism in the construction and renovation of schools. The PLQ claims that an access to information request revealed that all but one of the 48 approved school renovation and construction projects selected in 2023-2024 are in Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) ridings. The PLQ also stated that $220 million worth of school construction work in Liberal ridings has been "put on hold." However, Quebec Minister of Education Bernard Drainville responded by saying that the choices of projects are made by public servants based on objective criteria and that the government does not get involved. The PLQ argues that the concentration of projects in CAQ ridings is disproportionate and unfair.
Parents hopeful that 18-pupil school can stay open
Parents at a secondary school in Dumfries and Galloway are hopeful that the school can remain open, despite the number of pupils falling to just 18. The council had been considering education options for the village of Dalry, where Dalry Secondary is located. Concerns had been raised about the school's sustainability, but parent council chair, Stewart Gibson, said that the talks were "encouraging" and that education officials had stressed that the meeting was not about school closure. Gibson said that they were looking forward to working with the education department to help the school flourish.
Tropical storm warning
Communities along the US East Coast are bracing for heavy rain, flooding, and high winds as an approaching storm threatens the region. Although the storm had reached tropical storm strength, it hadn't yet been given a name and was referred to as Potential Tropical Cyclone Sixteen. The storm is expected to make landfall in North Carolina on Saturday. The National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning for the US East Coast, with rainfall of 3 to 5 inches expected in parts of North Carolina and Virginia. The storm surge could reach up to 5 feet in some areas.
Book bans in US public schools rise by a third in a year
Book bans in US public schools have increased by 33% over the last school year, according to a study by Pen America, a non-profit that supports freedom of expression in literature.