The government says it need to spend an extra £6mon a survey of 8,000 schools to check the condition of school buildings across England – but UNISON is concerned that the survey will not check for asbestos.
More than 75% of UK schools still contain asbestos, says the union, so the assessment as “purely cosmetic” and will not address government failiure to address the dangers to school pupils and staff.
Julie Winn, the chair of the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) and member of the Asbestos in Schools Group, said: “The extension of the property data survey programme is a golden opportunity for the government to collect data centrally on the presence and management plans for asbestos in UK schools.
“Without this information, the scale of the problem cannot be known and proportionate resources cannot be planned for and allocated.”
And Ms Winn asked: “Why has asbestos been inexplicably excluded from this survey? We believe that it suggests that the government is burying its head and does not want to know the true scale of the problem and how much it will cost to fix it”.