One in five school buildings need urgent repair

The Guardian is reporting that nearly one in five school buildings in England require urgent repairs, leading to warnings that they are ‘crumbling around teachers and pupils’.

An investigation by the newspaper has found that nearly 4,000 schools across the country have been judged by surveyors to be in need of immediate restoration work, and many more were found not to have the paperwork required by law, including electrical test certificates, fire risk assessments or asbestos management plans.

The data highlights how 17 per cent (3,731) were found to have buildings with ‘elements’, such as a roof, wall or window deemed in need of immediate replacement or repair. Of the 21,796 schools for which information was released, 1,313 had elements that were given the worst possible condition grade D, defined as ‘life expired and/or serious risk of imminent failure’.

As part of the Department for Education’s school condition data collection (CDC) programme surveyors visited every government-maintained school in England to collect data about the physical condition of school buildings and how they are managed.

According to the freedom of information data, 14 per cent of the 20,854 respondents did not have an asbestos management plan; 13 per cent did not have a fire risk assessment; 11 per cent did not have a gas safety test report; and 10 per cent did not have an electrical test certificate.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, commented: “The Tories have slashed funding for education and now we are seeing the consequences. Across the country schools are in dire need of repair but the funding simply isn’t available to get them into a fit state. That failure to invest has left our children and hard working school staff at risk, trying to teach in buildings that are crumbling around them. Only Labour will deliver the real change our schools need, ensuring every school building is a safe and secure place to learn.”