Schools failing to report asbestos details

The government asked schools to provide details of asbestos, and how they are managing it by May 31st last year, but it seems nearly a quarter of schools in England (23%) have not done so.

The Public Accounts Committee says it is ‘seriously concerned’ about the Department for Educations lack of information about asbestos in schools.

Due to the poor response rate, the deadline has been extended three times already, but it is thought that there won’t be a much higher response rate.

Asbestos was regularly used in construction until it was banned in 1999. It has been widely acknowledged that asbestos poses significant health risks, particularly in schools where not only staff, but pupils and visitors are at risk of exposure.

”It is not acceptable for schools to continue ignoring requests for details of asbestos in their buildings” says Meg Hillier, who chairs the committee.

She follows on to say ”the Government needs to be clear how asbestos removal will be funded as it is not possible for schools to fund this from their existing budgets”.

It was concluded that, ”Academies are subject to higher levels of accountability and transparency than local authorities”, and ”the Government must be prepared to step in if the risks are not being managed properly”.

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