Express & Star

Star comment: Urgent action needed over school concrete crisis

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the school concrete saga, the key issue now is to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

A builder cutting aerated concrete

It is essential, also, that schools who have been impacted through no fault of their own are not out of pocket because of it.

The Government should make it an absolute priority to ensure schools are surveyed and any work completed as soon as possible and, in the meantime, that all steps are taken to ensure children and staff are safe. No ifs, no buts, and no expense spared.

Once that has been done an inquiry can be held to see how we got ourselves into this mess in the first place.

It’s not just schools, of course. It appears that aerated concrete was worked in other public buildings and we need to ensure that the whole stock of national buildings is secure.

We found ourselves in a similar position – albeit for very different reasons – following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower. The remediation work at properties in that case, which had flammable panels, was too slow. We cannot fail our children or our public bodies in that way.

Lest we forget, the present generation of children have already had their education severely disrupted by Covid. Many lost time and the opportunity to learn, falling behind the pack through no fault of their own. The gap between the haves and the have-nots also grew and poor attendance is now rife as a result.

We must get on with it now and fix the problems.

Walls should be solid, not the texture of Aero. Woe betide those who did not act, if an accident does occur and a youngster is hurt.

*** We all get those Sunday night blues. And, after a six-week break, the thought of getting back into a routine is all the more daunting.

Today we offer some advice on how to help ease children back into school after the summer break.

It can be a difficult time for some, though others will be glad to be back among their friends.

For those who find it problematic, there are techniques that can be followed that helps, as well as lots of psycho-babble on the internet.

The best advice of all, of course, is to offer children a home filled with love and understanding as they return to school and switch onto the demands made of them.

School is an essential part of any person’s life and getting the most from it requires a supportive, caring household, where parents set a good example, while providing encouragement.