A letter addressed to Education Secretary Damian Hinds, written by the Fire Brigades Union in association with the National Education Union, has offered a damning condemnation of the British government’s de-emphasising of fire safety in new build schools. In contrast to those built in Scotland and Wales, which by law must have sprinklers fitted, only 35% of new schools built in England and Northern Ireland contain sprinkler systems to minimise.
New schools without sprinkler systems include Selsey Academy in West Sussex, which is being rebuilt after being burned down two years ago, and Kensington Aldridge Academy, which sits underneath the Grenfell Tower that remains gutted after the tragic 2017 fire. Andy Dark of the Fire Brigade union insists that “the cost of fitting sprinklers represents a very low investment when weighed against the potential threat to life, the damage to buildings and the disruption of children’s education if there is a fire in a school. It is essential that the government act immediately to make it a legal requirement for sprinklers to be fitted in all new school buildings.”