Education International
Education International

UK: Government publishes schools asbestos review

published 16 March 2015 updated 30 March 2015

The UK government has published the findings of its asbestos policy in schools review after bowing to education unions’ sustained pressure to go public, but critics say if still falls short.

NUT: Report doesn’t go far enough

In her reaction to the publication of “The management of asbestos in schools – A review of Department of Education policy”, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said that “The report is a step in the right direction, but no more. Better training and guidance is, of course welcome, as is the focus on transparency and accountability of duty holders.”

However, Blower said the report comprehensively “fails to set out a long-term strategy for phased removal of asbestos from our schools”.

In addition, she saw no change to the overall view that schools are low risk, despite the report highlighting that, between 2003 and 2012, 224 teachers died of mesothelioma. And the NUT General Secretary also found it “astonishing” that there is also no mention that some adults are dying as a result of childhood exposure at school.

“In the run up to the General Election, the NUT will be challenging the political parties to set out how they intend to deal with this problem and holding them to account in the future,” she warned.