Sunday 18 February 2018 / 8:51 AM Angela Rayner / Education / Press Releases

Labour commits to sprinklers in all new school buildings

Labour commits to sprinklers in all new school buildings as Ministers admit less than one in three new buildings have sprinklers

  • The next Labour government will ensure that all school buildings are safe, with sprinkler systems in all new buildings, and funding to ensure that flammable cladding is removed from schools;
  • Commitment comes after the Government admits that less than 30% of schools built under their flagship school building programme have sprinkler systems installed;
  • Government repeatedly failed to provide additional funding for the removal of cladding from school buildings.

The next Labour Government will ensure that all new school buildings are fitted with sprinklers and provide funding from central government to remove flammable cladding from school buildings. Labour will also remove the loophole that exists in current legislation, which allows a significant number of schools to not install sprinklers.

Ministers have admitted that fewer than 30% of schools constructed under their flagship school building programme had sprinkler systems installed, despite the presumption that all new school buildings should have sprinkler systems.

This comes after the recent announcement that a school in West Sussex is being rebuilt without a sprinkler system, even though it was almost destroyed by a fire two years ago.

The Government has repeatedly failed to give assurances they would provide additional funding to remove flammable cladding from existing school buildings when necessary, despite findings last summer that there are multiple school buildings with flammable cladding.

Concerns have been raised that the Government is neglecting the existing school estate, using money on the free schools programme instead of improving or maintaining existing buildings. Labour analysis has revealed that around 7,800 school buildings are over a century old, nearly one in eight of the total.

Writing in the Sunday People newspaper, Angela Rayner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education, said:

“As Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, I am proud to say that we will provide the full £14 billion that is needed to bring all schools up to a good standard.

“Within that, we will put money aside to make sure schools are safe. To remove asbestos and flammable cladding and fit lifesaving sprinklers. We will also close the loopholes that let developers get away with anything less in new schools, too.

“Parents want a lot of things for their kids, but above all they want them to be safe. Nothing is more important than that.”