Almost a quarter of schools fail to respond to asbestos survey

Almost a quarter of schools fail to respond to asbestos survey

Almost a quarter of schools have so far failed to provide information on the presence of asbestos, which has now led to a delay in the publication of a crucial national school asbestos survey.

The deadline for gathering this information originally closed in May this year. However, following the poor response rate, the Department for Education has been forced to reopen its ‘asbestos management assurance process’ and will not be able to publish the results until spring 2019.

The delay will mean that the results may come too late to include costs for the removal and management of asbestos in the Government’s spending review – which sets out long-term spending plans for public services.

Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, told MPs in the House of Commons during education questions: “Seventy-seven per cent of schools have responded so far, but we expect all state-funded schools and academies to participate, so we have re-opened the assurance process until February 2019, to give them a further opportunity to do so.”

However, Labour MP, Meg Hillier, chair of the parliamentary public accounts committee, who has raised repeated concerns about the presence of asbestos across the nation’s schools, told MPs: “The problem with publishing this long-awaited information in the spring is that this is likely to be too late to properly influence the spending review.”

She challenged the DfE to pledge funding to tackle the problem, saying: “Given that 85 per cent of schools have asbestos and the risks are getting greater as those buildings age, will the minister make a serious commitment to providing the funding to schools to tackle that asbestos, otherwise there’s no real incentive for them to come up with a plan, given the pinch on their budgets.”

Haslers for education

Almost a quarter of schools fail to respond to asbestos survey
Almost a quarter of schools fail to respond to asbestos survey

Almost a quarter of schools fail to respond to asbestos survey

Almost a quarter of schools fail to respond to asbestos survey