The government is under increasing pressure to reveal how many school buildings in England are at risk of collapsing.
Labor says parents deserve information about the “real state” of the buildings where their children are being taught.
The Department of Education (DfE) made the shocking admission in a report released last December, admitting that the situation was “getting worse”.
The report states that the majority of the buildings at risk were constructed between 1945 and 1970 using “system build” lightweight framing techniques – and calls on the DfE to disclose where these dangerous buildings are located.
Bridget Phillipson, Labor’s shadow secretary for education, said: “For two years Conservative ministers have duped parents instead of telling them the truth about the actual state of their children’s school buildings.”
“Years of conservative neglect of school grounds leave children with both learning disabilities and direct threats to their safety – yet parents are still groping in the dark as to the extent of the problem.”
“That’s why Labor is giving Conservative MPs a choice today: they can show they are on the side of parents, or on the side of a government that wants families to remain ignorant about the safety of school buildings.”
On Monday, the DfE said 859 schools and sixth form colleges will receive a £456m share to help with the refurbishment and repair of buildings.
A coalition of seven unions wrote an open letter to Education Secretary Gillian Keegan in February urging the government to ensure derelict buildings are made safe.
Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT teachers’ union, said: “School staff and parents have a right to know if their schools are at risk and what is being done to keep their schools safe.”
“That we have a situation where some schools are at risk of collapse is the result of years of chronic underinvestment by this government in our education system and school building stock.”
“Ministers have a duty to disclose where these dangerous school buildings are located, explain what measures they are taking to make them safe as a matter of urgency and commit to an investment program to ensure the safety of students and staff in schools future will never again be jeopardized in this way.” ‘
A DfE spokesman said: “The safety of students and staff is our top priority.” We have one of the largest and most comprehensive school building condition surveys in Europe, allowing us to understand the condition of school grounds in England and how they have changed over time.
“We have used these insights to advance our £450m investment in improving the school’s grounds.
“This is part of the £15 billion in capital funding we have provided since 2015, including £1.8 billion made available in 2023-2024 for essential maintenance and improvements.”
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