On Thursday 12 March I published the Department for Education’s review of asbestos management in schools. The review was initiated following a statement by the Department of Health’s Committee on Carcinogenicity on the vulnerability of children to asbestos compared with adults in 2013.
It is important for the safety and health of all staff and children in schools that asbestos is managed properly. The Department for Education has a role to support schools, and those legally responsible for managing school buildings such as local authorities and academy trusts, in ensuring that they are fully aware of their responsibilities and are executing them effectively.
This review sets out the steps we will take to enhance our role in supporting the management of asbestos in schools. First, we are publishing refreshed, more user-friendly, guidance and ensuring it is widely disseminated, so that all of those with a responsibility for keeping their schools safe know and understand how to manage asbestos.
Second, we want to improve accountability in the system, and are proposing to gather data to ensure those responsible for asbestos management are fulfilling their duties. The Department will consult with stakeholders to ensure we do this in the most effective and efficient way possible.
We will continue to invest in the school estate in a way that ensures asbestos can be dealt with adequately and that, over time and where appropriate, we see a reduction in the number of schools buildings with asbestos-containing materials. And we will continue to seek to improve the evidence base on asbestos levels and asbestos management in schools, so that we can ensure our policies fully respond to any barriers to the effective management of asbestos in schools.
This publication builds upon the extensive investment made by this Government in improving the condition of our schools, including most recently last month’s announcements of a further £6 billion of investment. Copies of the review have been placed in the House Library.