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Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much school arson cost in (a) 2000 and (b) 2001; and if he will make a statement. [117904]

The Department does not collect these figures. However, we take very seriously the threat that arson poses to some schools.If a fire should happen in a school, the Department's primary concern is for the safety of pupils, teachers and other users. Regulation 17 of the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999 requires that every part of a school building, and of the land provided for a school, shall be such that the safe escape of the occupants in case of fire is reasonably assured. Schools are also covered by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and by subsequent related regulations. These include aspects of fire safety.To help schools manage fire safety, The Department published "Managing School Facilities Guide 6, Fire Safety", in 2000. This offers guidance on how to minimise the risks of both accidental and malicious fires occurring, and advises on how to identify hazards and carry out risk assessments. It also gives advice on training and on fire detection and alarm systems.