[holding answer 24 February 2010]: We have made a commitment to improve the training provided to head teachers and school business managers on asbestos management, and Partnerships for Schools will be working with HSE to produce training materials. These will be signposted in courses run by the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services for new head teachers and school business managers. This work will assist them to understand and implement their role in relation to asbestos management during building work, repairs, maintenance and day-to-day operation of schools.
It is not the role of classroom teachers to monitor, manage or to be accountable for the presence of asbestos in schools. Responsibility for this resides with local authorities and/or governing bodies in ensuring that schools are safe for pupils and staff. Consequently, initial teacher training does not address this topic. While there are Qualified Teacher Status standards relating to health and safety issues and the establishment of safe learning environments, training in relation to these standards will be teaching and learning focused, and not related to issues concerning the construction of the building in which that learning takes place.