UK officials have repeatedly failed to explain to the Scottish Government why entire schools in England have closed over collapse-risk concrete, The National can reveal.

Two letters sent to the English Education Secretary Gillian Keegan from her Scottish counterpart Jenny Gilruth, seen by this paper, have gone unanswered in full despite the urgency of the situation.

The Department for Education (DfE) is understood to be describing its approach as “overcautious” but it remains unclear which advice they are following to have closed entire schools because of the presence of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac).

The crumbly form of concrete is at the centre of a UK-wide crisis which has seen parts of some Scottish schools close and entire buildings south of the Border.

Despite the DfE’s drastic measures in ordering some schools in England to close entirely, the rationale behind the decision has not been shared with the Scottish Government after repeated requests.

The National: Education Secretary Gillian Keegan

In her first letter to Keegan (above), sent on September 3, the Scottish Education Secretary referred to comments from her English counterpart the previous day, which referenced “new evidence” on the dangers posed by Raac.

READ MORE: Scottish university closes part of student union amid weak concrete risk

Gilruth wrote: “In order that we can understand more of the rationale for your decision, please share all this new evidence with the Scottish Government, including any data on any incidents which have taken place, and any technical reports, assessments or third-party advice received.

“This can then be reviewed by our technical experts and representatives of our local authority partners.

“I assume that you have shared this new evidence with other UK Government departments.

“If so, it would be helpful to understand why other UK Government departments are not following this change in approach for other parts of the public sector estate in England.”

Politico previously reported that other public buildings were more likely than schools to have building managers on-site, which could explain why schools are being subject to more drastic measures than others.

In a subsequent letter, Gilruth complained the evidence provided was “incomplete and late”.

She said: “Despite this more recent information, it does remain our opinion that we are still without the full rationale for the DfE’s sudden policy change towards the management of Raac in schools.

“I request again that the DfE shares detailed and comprehensive technical and structural reports that clearly set out the risk analysis that underpins your policies, in order that the devolved nations can reach a full and urgent assessment of the risks posed by Raac. This is increasingly time-critical.”

The Scottish Government confirmed the second letter remained unanswered as of Thursday.

Speaking on Wednesday, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson said the Government was being advised by a number of bodies including the Institution of Structural Engineers.

Their advice on Raac says to fully close a building if it is deemed to be at “critical risk” of collapse and there are no temporary supports in place.

The Department for Education was approached for comment.