A school in Beddington has delayed reopening due to the discovery that some of the building is made with a type of concrete that could suddenly collapse.

The Link School secondary site has been temporarily closed after this material was found in the school hall.

The concrete in question is reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac), a lightweight building material used from the 1950s up to the mid-1990s.

It is hoped that affected schools are reopened as soon as possible, with The Link School secondary in Beddington aiming to reopen on Monday, September 11.

The Link School provides education for children and young people between the ages of 4 to 18 with speech, language and communication needs including autistic spectrum conditions and Pathological Demand Avoidance.

The secondary site teaches key stage three and four pupils.

On Thursday, the Department for Education said it had contacted 104 more schools after 52 of the 156 educational settings containing the concrete took protective steps so far this year.

The government has not yet released a comprehensive list of affected schools.

It is estimated that around 24 schools have been asked to close entirely due to the presence of Raac.

Headteachers are scrambling to find temporary teaching spaces, while others are resorting to remote learning.

The Department for Education has suggested utilizing nearby schools, community centres, or empty local office buildings as temporary substitutes for classrooms.

The government aims to minimize the disruption caused by the closure of affected buildings.

Pandemic-style learning, similar to what was implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, should only last for a few days rather than weeks, according to the Department for Education.

In a statement on Saturday, the DfE said: “We are incredibly grateful to school and college leaders for their work with us at pace to make sure that where children are affected, disruption is kept to a minimum, and in the even rarer cases where remote learning is required, it is for a matter of days not weeks.”

The DfE expressed gratitude towards school and college leaders for their cooperation in minimizing disruption for affected students.

Leaders of a coalition of unions wrote to Education Secretary Gillian Keegan on Monday demanding urgent answers on the Raac “emergency” in schools.

School staff are “managing the anxiety” of parents and carers on behalf of government and they have a right to know how this happened, the unions said.

The letter – from the school leaders’ union NAHT, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the National Education Union (NEU), the NASUWT teaching union, GMB and Unison – called for clarity over the support for schools and the funding arrangements for dealing with Raac.

It said: “It cannot be right that school leaders and their teams are charged with making decisions about the immediate risk of harm if they discover or are concerned that Raac is present on their site. They do not have the relevant expertise to make such assessments.

“Members of our unions, particularly in leadership positions, may be faced with calls from staff or the public to evacuate the site or parts of that site if there is any uncertainty whatsoever.”

The Link School has been approached for further comment.