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Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, who has also contributed to numerous national business titles including Utility Week, the Municipal Journal, Environment Journal and consumer titles such as Classic Rock.

February 20, 2018

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Fire safety

Labour commits to sprinklers in all new schools

The Labour Party has promised to ensure all new schools will be fitted with sprinklers, as part of a £14 billion package of safety improvements.

Writing in the Sunday People newspaper over the weekend, shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner said if elected, Labour would “provide the full £14 billion” needed, according to figures from the National Audit Office, to bring all schools up to a good safety standard.

“Within that, we will put money aside to make sure schools are safe,” wrote Ms Rayner.

“To remove asbestos and flammable cladding and fit lifesaving sprinklers,” she added. “We will also close the loopholes that let developers get away with anything less in new schools, too.

Download: A technical guide to sprinkler systems

Safety for children

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

The announcement by Labour follows a written parliamentary statement earlier this month from education minister Nick Gibb, which shows less than 30% of schools built under one government programme have sprinklers fitted.

In a response to a question from Ms Rayner about the number of new schools fitted with sprinklers, Mr Gibb said the Department for Education “does not hold data on the proportion of all new schools that have been built, with or without sprinklers since 2010”.

And he added the Government does not hold comprehensive data on the number of free schools fitted with sprinklers, either.

Sprinklers

But Mr Gibb said 74 of the 260 schools in the first phase of the Government’s Priority Building Programme “have, or are planned to have” sprinklers fitted.

“The Department is doing further work that will enable us to provide figures on sprinklers fitted in all schools delivered centrally by the Education and Skills Funding Agency,” added Mr Gibb.

 

Barbour Download: A Technical Guide to Sprinkler Systems

There is no general legal requirement for sprinkler systems to be installed in a place of work but there may be circumstances where sprinklers are required.

This guide provides an overview of the need-to-know information for sprinklers and covers:

  • The legal requirements
  • More information about sprinkler systems
  • Key actions
  • Key terms
  • And more

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John

Politicians need to step back and heed the advice of H&S professionals regards to what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to fire safety. Its high time they realised that an opinion is not a substitute or qualification to deride or castigate qualified and experienced professionals.