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17th April 2017

Asbestos in Schools

Late in 2016 the BBC reported that over the past decade 32 English councils have settled asbestos claims from over 200 ex-teachers, school staff and ex-pupils.

The exact value of the settlements is vague as ten of the councils contacted by the broadcaster wouldn’t disclose how many cases they had settled.

Between 2011 and 2016 Local Authorities reported 99 incidents of asbestos exposure in school premises.  13 Local Authorities that responded to an FOI request have admitted they have no data on which of their local schools contain asbestos.

Presence of asbestos

ACMs are present in at least 12,600 council run schools but there are 5,000 academy schools which aren’t included in that total, so the figure is likely to be higher.

So far, despite the amount of claims and the potential for many more, there are no plans for a nationwide audit or comprehensive removal initiative.

It would be reassuring to know that all staff in the thousands of schools where asbestos is present had relevant training, but far too few actually do.

And that should be a matter of deep concern

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