CHILDREN are being trapped in 29C marquees as schools shut classrooms over crumbling concrete, parents have revealed.
Families say the back-to-school concrete crisis could drag on for another four weeks, with pupils sent into makeshift lessons despite safety fears.
Marquees and Portaloos have been set up for pupils exiled from classroomsCredit: Kevin Dunnett
Parents at St Francis Catholic Primary in Berkshire told how their kids ate from doggy bags and were shepherded into stinking Portaloos on the hottest day of the year.
The emergency sessions came as the government faced new scrutiny over just why so many schools have been left vulnerable to collapse.
St Francis, in Ascot, is one among thousands of schools across Britain facing fears classrooms could cave in.
The area also today had Met Office weather readings as high as 29C.
Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete is at the centre of the latest schools scandal.
The concrete – supported by steel rods that run through beams – has been used to build not only schools but also courts and other buildings since the 1960s.
But safety’s been questioned after a beam containing the material collapsed at an unnamed school during this summer’s holidays.
The government then announced a “change in our approach” to manage Raac, adding recent cases had “led to a loss of confidence in buildings containing the material”.
This has resulted in more than 100 schools, 41 hospitals and at least six courts closing – with many more potentially at risk.
And families today told Sun Online of their worries.
Maneesh Matthew, who has an eight-year-old daughter at St Francis, described how classes were continuing “which matters” – while saying: “Marquees are staying for four weeks.”
He added: “They don’t have floors in the marquee and it’s quite hot but the kids seem to find it an adventure.”
Five marquees were set up outside the school buildings, with families welcomed in to inspect them – but many of the parents The Sun spoke to said their kids remained indoors.
Jasmir Shaek has three children at the school, with one of her sons declaring: “It’s been so hot today.”
Yet she was positive about how teachers there handled the Raac fall-out.
She said: “The kids are a little hot and bothered, but the school have been amazing with telling us what’s happening.
“I think the kids have found it exciting – bit like an adventure, yes.”
When asked whether she had any concerns heading towards winter, she said: “No – they are putting up temporary classrooms to replace the marquees in a few weeks.
“I think they’re happy to be back at school.”
Another dad who wanted to remain anonymous told The Sun as he queued to pick up his daughter: “I’m pretty happy with how they’ve adapted – it’s not their fault this has happened.
“They’ve made the best of an unfortunate situation, I think.”
Schools minister Nick Gibb earlier insisted to the BBC he was forced to order school closures.
He said: “What we discovered over the summer was a number of instances, in schools and in non-schools, in England and outside England, where RAAC that had been considered to be a low risk actually turned out to be unsafe.”
There are now concerns concrete inspections at schools might not be ended until December, leaving thousands of pupils in limbo.
Some schools affected are starting the new term remotely, providing pupils with online lessons like during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Panicked teachers have been pleading with schools to help them find emergency portaloos so they can keep classes going.
One in 20 school bodies, including local authorities and trusts, have been given until Friday to return surveys to the Department for Education about potential crumbling concrete risks.
Education secretary Gillian Keegan urged staff to “get off your backsides”, having previously faced flak for a foul-mouthed off-mic comment about people she said had “done nothing”.
Makeshift facilities have been set u at St Francis Catholic Primary School in AscotCredit: Kevin Dunnett
Kids in Berkshire are still being taught but in temporary marqueesCredit: Kevin Dunnett
Concerns about concrete have been raised about schools across the UKCredit: Kevin Dunnett
Parents say their kids are sweltering in lessons under emergency tentsCredit: Alamy