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Schools: Arson

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many schools closed for a period of two weeks or more as a result of an act of arson in the last 12 months; (251949)

(2) what estimate he has made of the cost of repair to school premises following acts of arson in each of the last three years;

(3) how many incidents of arson against schools have been recorded in the last 12 months; and what estimate he has made of the number of such fires which were started externally.

The Department does not have any figures for the numbers of schools closed as a result of an arson attack or for the cost of repairs to school premises following acts of arson in the last three years. The latest information we have on the costs of repairs is that according to estimates made by Communities and Local Government the average cost of school fires for 2000-04 was £58 million per year.

According to the latest available provisional figures for 2007, there were 348 deliberate fires in schools in England, of which 73 (21 per cent.) were started externally. Figures are partially based on sampled weighted data.

Arson is a legal term not used in the national fire statistics collection; deliberate fires are those as determined by the Fire and Rescue Service in attendance at the fire.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many school buildings have sustained structural damage requiring repair following acts of arson in each of the last three years. (251950)