A Labour government would ensure all new schools have sprinkler systems in place as fresh figures show less than one in three schools built or refurbished by central government since 2010 have them installed.
Party officials told The Independent that, if elected, Labour would remove a “loophole” in the existing legislation, which they claim allows a significant proportion of schools not to fit sprinklers.
Schools minister, Mr Gibb said that since 2010, of the 260 schools commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) under phase one of the Priority School Building Programme, 74 (28 per cent) have, or are planned to have, sprinkler systems.
It means the vast majority (72 per cent) of the schools on programme – aiming to rebuild and refurbish schools buildings in the worst conditions across the country – will not have sprinklers in place. The Government hoped that most of the schools would open by the end of 2017.
Sprinklers are currently mandatory in schools in Scotland and Wales, but not in England and Northern Ireland – despite a warning from fire chiefs last year that the Government risks “playing with children’s lives” and called for all new and refurbished schools to have them installed.
Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary, told The Independent that a Labour government would provide £14bn that was needed to bring schools up to a “good standard”.
She added: “Within that, we will put money aside to make sure schools are safe, and to remove asbestos and flammable cladding and fit lifesaving sprinklers. We also want to close the loopholes that let developers get away with anything less in new schools.”
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