SDLP South Belfast MP Claire Hanna has said that the discovery of RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) in the roof of a two-storey block at Cairnshill Primary School will cause concern for the school community but that every precaution is now being taken to prioritise the safety of children, teachers, staff and parents.
Speaking following notification from the school today, Claire Hanna MP said:
“The discovery of RAAC in the roof of the two-storey block at Cairnshill will obviously cause concern among the school community following reports of the nature of the material in the UK. I have been in touch with the school leadership and the Education Authority and I am confident that their initial response has been guided by the singular priority of keeping children and school users safe.
“This is an evolving situation and in order to protect the wellbeing of children, teachers and other staff, eight classrooms have been closed and evacuated as a precaution. This is exactly the right approach as we learn more about the risks to these sites. I will continue to liaise with the school and the Education Authority as more information becomes available and a plan is put in place to manage this situation.
“We need to deal with this at pace to ensure that there is minimal interruption to the education of these kids. There will undoubtedly be disruption to the lives and schedules of everyone involved, I would appeal to all those affected to work with the school and with the rest of us - we all want this to be dealt with safely and swiftly in the interests of children, parents and staff.
Matthew O’Toole MLA said:
“This is obviously a distressing time for staff, parents and pupils at Cairnshill. The important thing is that this situation has been identified early, no one has come to any harm and thanks to the swift action of the school, children will be safe.
“We are working with the school and with the statutory agencies to address the presence of RAAC quickly, to ensure the safety of the affected classrooms and to put a plan in place to get kids back to school as quickly as possible.
“I want to thank Cairnshill for their quick response to a difficult and evolving problem. We are here to help in any way that we can.”