The government is under increasing pressure to reveal how many school buildings in England are at risk of collapse.
Labour says parents deserve to know about the ‘real state’ of the buildings where their children are being taught.
The Department for Education (DfE) made the shocking admission, and admitted the situation is ‘worsening’, in a report released last December.
The report says the majority of buildings at risk were built between 1945 and 1970 using ‘system build’ light frame techniques – and the DfE is being urged to reveal where these dangerous buildings are located.
Bridget Phillipson, Labour’s shadow education secretary, said: ‘For two years, Conservative ministers have pulled the wool over parents’ eyes instead of telling them the truth about the real state of their children’s school buildings.
‘Years of Conservative neglect of the school estate means that children face disruption to learning as well as direct threats to their safety – yet parents are still in the dark about the scale of the problem.
‘That’s why Labour is giving Conservative MPs a choice today: they can show they’re on the side of parents, or a government that wants to keep families in the dark about the safety of school buildings.’
On Monday the DfE said 859 schools and sixth-form colleges will receive a share of £456 million to help refurbish and repair buildings.
A coalition of seven unions called on the government to make sure deteriorating buildings are made safe in an open letter to the Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, in February.
Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said: ‘School staff and parents have a right to know if their schools are at risk and what is being done to ensure the safety of their schools.
‘That we have a situation where some schools are at risk of collapse is the result of years of chronic under-investment in our education system and the school buildings estate by this government.
‘Ministers have a duty to reveal where these dangerous school buildings are, explain what steps they are taking to urgently make them safe and to commit to an investment programme that means pupils and staff will never find their safety compromised in this way again in future.’
A DfE spokesperson said: ‘The safety of pupils and staff is paramount. We have one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys of school building conditions in Europe, and this allows us to understand the condition of the school estate in England and how it is changing over time.
‘We have used these findings to inform our £450 million investment to improve the school estate.
‘This is part of £15 billion of capital funding we have allocated since 2015, including £1.8 billion committed in 2023-24, for essential maintenance and improvements.’
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