DEPARTMENT for Education (DfE) Minister Baroness Barran has visited Selworthy Special School, in Taunton, after crumbling concrete was found there.

She was accompanied by Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow, who had contacted her over the presence of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

They wanted to see first hand the impact of RAAC on school life, check the safety measures in place and speak with executive headteacher Mark Ruffett and Ian Robinson, chief executive of The Oak Partnership Trust, of which Selworthy is a member.

Ms Pow said: "I'd like to thank Baroness Barran for responding to my urgent call and for her time on Friday and to thank Ian Robinson and his team for continuing to do their much-valued work at Selworthy.

"Following my first visit to the school I realised the full impact RAAC is having on the staff and students and immediately contacted the DfE to stress the seriousness of the situation.

"I was pleased the department responded promptly and that I was able to visit again, accompanied by the Minister, so that she could see the impact this is having on the school.

"It's all credit to the Selworthy staff that they have adapted quickly to the situation so the school can remain open.

"Together with a dedicated DfE team a future solution will be proposed following detailed surveying which is underway.”

Baroness Barran said: “The safety of our students and teachers remains our number one priority, which is why my focus has been on ensuring that every school affected by RAAC is being supported properly.

"Witnessing the remarkable efforts of head teachers and responsible bodies at Selworthy Special School to ensure education can continue fills me with profound admiration.

"I am also hugely grateful to Rebecca Pow for her ongoing work and support of the school.

"We will continue to work with the school to determine what mitigation measures will be the most appropriate and identify a long-term solution.”

Gideon Amos, who is standing for the LibDems in the next General Election in Taunon, said: "The people that matter here are the pupils and staff who at Selworthy managed to keep the school open despite having to close two blocks in the school - my huge congratulations to them for their hard work.

“Given that prime minister Rishi Sunak refused to properly fund a school rebuilding programme when he was Chancellor, despite officials’ warnings about ‘a critical risk to life’ people have nothing to learn from the Conservatives’ when it comes to their crumbling schools crisis."