As schools scramble to put new safety measures in place, many parents will be asking why it has taken the government so long to wake up to the gravity of this problem.
Education minister Nick Gibb told Sky News the government was taking a cautious approach to the problem of RAAC (reinforced aerated autoclaved concrete) in schools.
However, many would question the sincerity of those comments as the government has known about the risks of this type of concrete for years and was even told in September 2022 that the material was life-expired and liable to collapse.
Although Mr Gibb clarified that government will be paying for alternative accommodation for schools where necessary and that it would publish the full list of affected schools in due course, he left parents with four key questions.
Firstly, how many schools will have to close entirely? The minister couldn’t answer that question despite speculation it could be as many as 30.
Second, are all schools safe? Mr Gibb insisted they were, but the government is yet to receive all the data on RAAC in schools as not all schools have been checked.
Thirdly, although Mr Gibb guaranteed the list of affected schools would be published, he did not go as far as to say when that would be – leaving parents worried their children’s schools could be affected without them knowing.
And finally, the minister explained that not all schools impacted by RAAC had been informed yet, meaning there are schools that remain in the dark about whether they may need to be fully or partially closed.
With term beginning in a matter of days, the timing of these revelations come at a moment when Rishi Sunak and his government were hoping for a reset.
Mini reshuffle completed and refreshed from parliamentary recess, Mr Sunak will be frustrated by this false start ahead of the return to schools and Westminster.