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Labour government would fit sprinklers in schools

19 February 2018

LABOUR HAS revealed that it would ensure all new school buildings are fitted with sprinklers should it form the next government.

A Labour government would provide funding from central government to remove flammable cladding from school buildings. It would also remove the loophole that exists in current legislation, which allows a significant number of schools to not install sprinklers.

Ministers have admitted that fewer than 30% of schools constructed under their flagship school building programme had sprinkler systems installed, despite the presumption that all new school buildings should have sprinkler systems.

This comes after the recent announcement that a school in West Sussex is being rebuilt without a sprinkler system, even though it was almost destroyed by a fire two years ago.

Labour claims the government has repeatedly failed to give assurances they would provide additional funding to remove flammable cladding from existing school buildings when necessary, despite findings last summer that there are multiple school buildings with flammable cladding.

Labour also says that concerns have been raised that the government is neglecting the existing school estate, using money on the free schools programme instead of improving or maintaining existing buildings. Labour analysis has revealed that around 7,800 school buildings are over a century old, nearly one in eight of the total.

Shadow secretary of state for education Angela Rayner said: “I am proud to say that we will provide the full £14 billion that is needed to bring all schools up to a good standard.

“Within that, we will put money aside to make sure schools are safe. To remove asbestos and flammable cladding and fit lifesaving sprinklers. We will also close the loopholes that let developers get away with anything less in new schools, too.

“Parents want a lot of things for their kids, but above all they want them to be safe. Nothing is more important than that.”