More than 100 schools in West Sussex could be at risk of collapse due to unsafe concrete, a former council leader has claimed.

Dozens of schools across England have been forced to fully or partially close due to fears over reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

Although only one school in West Sussex, Greenway Junior School in Horsham, has been confirmed to have RAAC, former Crawley Borough Council leader Peter Lamb claims that as many as 114 schools identified as potentially containing the concrete have not undergone inspection.

Commonly used in the construction industry from the 1950s until the 1990s, RAAC is now believed to be at risk of collapses following incidents over the summer.

West Sussex County Council has said that no schools it maintains have been identified from their records as containing RAAC and that a physical inspection of all council-maintained school blocks built between 1930 and 2000 has been commissioned.

The Argus: Peter Lamb has claimed that dozens of schools in West Sussex could be at risk of collapsePeter Lamb has claimed that dozens of schools in West Sussex could be at risk of collapse (Image: Crawley Town Council)

Peter Lamb, the Labour candidate for Crawley for the next general election, slammed West Sussex County Council for a lack of urgency to address the situation and accused the council of a lack of transparency about the risks to pupils at the schools that could be at risk.

He said: “It is a disgrace that, despite years of warnings, the county still has yet to inspect any of the 114 schools in Crawley and across West Sussex which are identified as being at risk of containing deadly concrete.

“Not only does this mean that local children are currently attending schools which are potentially as dangerous as those which have been closed, but that the council has chosen to obfuscate rather than be transparent with parents about the risks.

“The most important part of crisis management is dealing with the crisis, not your reputation.

“For the safety of pupils and teachers, I’m calling on the council to fast-track the inspections and publish the full list of 114 local schools potentially containing RAAC.”

A spokeswoman for West Sussex County Council said: “We have completed a thorough review of all the records held by us for all the schools we maintain and none were identified from our records as containing any RAAC construction.

“The safety of children and staff within our schools is a top priority for us, so as a further precaution we have commissioned a physical inspection of all county council-maintained school blocks constructed between 1930 and 2000 to check for any RAAC materials.

“This survey work across the 114 maintained schools will follow the Department for Education guidance, as updated on August 30 2023.

“In addition to the maintained schools, we have initiated a parallel process for other WSCC-owned buildings constructed within this time period.

“If any RAAC construction materials are identified as a result of these inspections, then further detailed examinations will be commissioned to determine the condition, associated risk and any required mitigation.”