Letter from Head of Education to Ross High School parents/carers

Dear parents/carers

As you will be aware from my letter earlier this week, Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) is a lightweight form of precast concrete, frequently used in public sector buildings in the UK from the mid-1960s to at least the mid-1980s. It is mainly found in roofs, although occasionally in floors and walls. In some situations, identification of concerns within some elements of RAAC has required building works to be carried out or remedial measures to be put in place.

East Lothian Council had already, following the publication of previous government advice, asked engineering specialists to undertake inspections, focused on establishing the extent and condition of RAAC within buildings.

Survey work established that Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) is present in the dining hall at Ross High School. As stated in the recent letter, the RAAC which is present at Ross High is being closely monitored to establish whether any work might be required.

Further assessment work has taken place since my letter of Tuesday. While it remains the case that the RAAC is in a better condition than buildings elsewhere, we have been advised that work will be required to improve the bearing of the RAAC panels. This involves the installation of supplemental steel supports where required.

Although a full report on this is awaited, we believe that it is best to take decisive action and arrange for this to be done as soon as possible. Therefore, as a temporary and precautionary measure, the dining hall is being taken out of immediate use and arrangements are being made for work to proceed.

It is anticipated that this can be completed ahead of school resuming after the October half term break and so our expectation is that the dining hall will then re-open.

In the meantime, temporary arrangements are being put in place from Monday with students to be provided with an adjusted school lunch menu from the social space. Mr Reynolds will be providing further details about this to students on Monday.

We appreciate this will cause inconvenience but believe that, as this new information has come to light, it is important to take decisive action.

Everyone’s health and safety is our top priority and I would like to re-assure you that no other area of the building at Ross High is affected and we will provide further updates in relation to the dining hall in due course.

Yours sincerely

Nicola McDowell

Head of Education

Published: Friday, 8th September 2023