Concerns over cladding and sprinklers

29 June 2017

Ministers are being asked to order urgent checks of fire safety measures in England's schools, reports the BBC.

The National Union of Teachers, Fire Brigades Union and Association of Teachers and Lecturers are calling for cladding to be analysed urgently, in the wake of the Grenfell fire.

The unions also asked for clarity on whether plans to tone down fire safety rules for schools were being scrapped.

Ministers say cladding on schools over four storeys high is being checked.

And the government insisted there were no plans to bring in any changes which would make fire safety laws less strict.

Fire safety guidance for schools, known as Building Bulletin 100, had required all new schools to be fitted with sprinklers - except for a few low-risk schools, the letter highlights.

Despite this, only 35% of new schools built since 2010 have been fitted with sprinklers.

This is compared with 70% of schools built between 2007 and 2010.

In a statement, the unions said: "It is clear that current guidance is being ignored in the rush to build new schools as cheaply as possible."

The national school-building programme, Building Schools for the Future, was scrapped by the then Education Secretary Michael Gove in 2010 for being too expensive.

A new programme for school building was developed which the then government said was more efficient and less costly.

A Department for Education spokesman told the BBC all schools had to have mandatory fire risk assessments and new schools were subject to additional checks during the design process.

Original source

BBC News