A Labour government have made a promise to make sure all the new schools will have sprinkler-systems installed as the latest figures have discovered that under 1 in 3 schools refurbished or built by the central government have had them installed since 2010.
The party officials have gone onto say if they are elected, Labour commits to removing the “loophole” within the present legislation, that they have claimed has allowed for a large amount of the schools not having sprinklers fitted.
Concerning Figures Disclosed by the Schools Minister
This announcement came after new figures disclosed by Nick Gibb the school’s minister in response to the written parliamentary question stated earlier this month in the Commons.
Mr Gibb, stated that since 2010, out of the 260 schools which were commissioned by the DfE (Department for Education) under phase 1 of the PSBP (Priority School Building Programme), 28% (74) have or are planning to have a sprinkler system installed.
What this means is that around 72% which is the vast majority of schools in this programme, aiming to refurbish and rebuild school buildings that are regarded as being in “worst condition” throughout the country are not going to have sprinkler systems in place. The Government has hoped that the many of these schools would be opened by the end part of 2017.
Mr Gibb went onto add that the DfE have no comprehensive data regarding the free school numbers with sprinklers, like the schools under the programme that were “originally managed by the individual free school proposer groups”.
Labour has already received around 17,000 emails for the members to be provided with a say on the Sprinklers which are mandatory in the schools in Wales and Scotland, but are not in Northern Ireland, despite warnings from the fire chiefs which were given the year before that Government risks “playing with children’s lives” and made a call that all refurbished and new schools should have these sprinkler systems installed and also have sprinkler system maintenance service in place.
Earlier on this month, the unions also stated their concerns about the decision to rebuild the school Selsey Academy in West Sussex without any sprinklers despite the fact that this building was just about destroyed after a fire that occurred in 2016. The Fire Brigade Union went onto say that is “incomprehensible” and they also stated that government was “shockingly cavalier” when it comes to their attitude when it comes to fire safety.
The Department for Education’s Take on Fire Sprinklers
One of the spokespersons stated that schools already have various fire-protection measures in place and the new schools all undergo additional checks when they are designed. When sprinklers are said to be a necessity to keep the children safe, then they should be installed.
This same spokesperson stated that since the Grenfell tragedy they have been in contact with all the bodies that hold the responsibility for safety measures in schools. They have instructed these bodies to carry out extensive checks to locate the buildings that might need further investigation.
Corbyn has demanded 1 billion pounds to install sprinkler systems in all the social high-rises. He said they are currently working with 2 schools where the ACM classing is a potential concern was identified, in order for the necessary remedial actions need to be taken.
The DfE has added that all the new school-buildings have to signed by independent inspectors to make sure they have met up to requirements as well as designed in such a way that they protect the occupants allowing them a way to escape if a fire breaks out.
The current regulations contain a presumption that the new schools must have a sprinkler fitted, expecting when buildings are regarded as a “low risk.” Labour has said it wants to alter this consideration to make sure that any new build will have these systems installed.
Under phase 2, associated with the Priority School Building Programme, 277 schools still need to be rebuilt, but Gibb added these are still in early design stages, and it is not clear yet which of these buildings will require sprinklers.
Labour has also raised more concerns that the ministers have neglected the existing school seats. They have also stated that these funds have been used on free-school programmes opposed to maintaining or improving existing buildings after a report from the government in January 2015 that claimed that 7,831 “education blocks” had been built before the year 1919.