Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) identified at a school in Belfast

Date published: 29 November 2023

The Department of Education and the Education Authority have issued a statement following the detection of RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) in a Primary School in Belfast.

It has been confirmed that RAAC is present in an eight-classroom block at Cairnshill Primary School and engineers have confirmed that the block is unsafe for continued use. Steps have been taken to close the classrooms affected and the rest of the building remains safe to use for staff and pupils.

Department of Education Permanent Secretary, Dr Mark Browne, visited the school today and met with Principal Joanne Currie, members of the Board of Governors, staff, EA representatives and engineers.

Following the meeting Dr Browne said:

“The safety of our teachers, staff and pupils in our schools is our highest priority. We fully understand that this news will be concerning for staff, parents/carers and the wider school community.

“The Department and the Education Authority are working closely with the school to ensure those classes affected can return as early as possible next week.

“The Department will provide funding for all remedial works required and we are committed to ensuring that there will be as little as disruption as possible for the school and parents.”

The school will communicate arrangements to parents/carers as they are confirmed and we will continue to ensure the wider school community are kept fully informed moving forward.



Notes to editors: 

  1. RAAC is a lightweight, ‘bubbly’ form of concrete commonly used in construction between the 1950s and mid-1990s. It is predominantly found as precast panels in roofs, commonly found in flat roofs, and occasionally in floors and walls. It means it may be found in any school and college building that was either built or modified in this time period.
  2. In September 2023, the Department of Education (DE) commissioned the Education Authority (EA) to carry out structural surveys to ascertain whether RAAC is present within schools in Northern Ireland.
  3. This work was taken forward as a matter of urgency by the EA’s Maintenance Service, which reviewed all schools on the basis of building fabric, age and type of construction and then organised surveys to be carried out, as required, by appointed engineers.
  4.  Follow us on Twitter @Education_ni
  5.  Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office at

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