A new investigation has revealed that more than one in six schools across England have buildings that need urgent repairs, with nearly 4,000 such establishments judged by surveyors to require immediate restoration work.
The Guardian analysed information gathered through the Department of Education’s (DfE’s) school condition data collection programme and found that 17 per cent of buildings had elements like windows, roofs and walls that either needed to be replaced or immediately repaired.
It was also found that many schools also didn’t have legally required paperwork, such as fire risk assessments, electrical test certificates or asbestos management plans.
Joint general secretary of the National Education Union Kevin Courtney said the figures show the effects of a lack of investment in educational infrastructure.
He observed: “It makes no sense for important practical documents, required by law, not to be held on the premises of a school or college. The reason the government gives – that they may be held by a multi-academy trust would be laughable if it weren’t so serious. If they are missing how can the risk be safely managed?”
The DfE said that in some instances, paperwork could have been held off site if schools were managed by a multi-academy trust.
In response to the findings, Nick Gibb – schools minister – said the Conservative government has been providing money each year to improve building conditions and more than £1 billion had been made available in this academic year.
Earlier this month (December), the Oxford Mail reported that Windmill Primary School – the largest primary school in Oxfordshire – had to close parts of the building off to students over dilapidation concerns.
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