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Schools: Fires

Question for Department for Education

UIN 192795, tabled on 19 November 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 1 November 2018 to Question 183891 on Schools: Insulation, how many school fires occurred in 2017-2018.

Answered on

27 November 2018

The information requested is not held centrally. The Department does not collect data on school fires. The Home Office publishes data relating to fires in buildings other than dwellings, which includes categories for educational establishments. The most recent published figures cover the 2010/11 to 2017/18 financial years inclusive and can be found here:

The 2017/18 data shows that the incidence of fire across the school estate affecting the whole building, is low.

Neither the Department, nor the Home Office, collect information on: how many school fires resulted in the relocation of pupils to separate premises in 2017-18; how many days of operation have been lost as a result of fires in schools in 2017-2018; what the cost has been to (a) central Government and (b) local authorities of fires in schools in 2017-18; or the effect on children’s education of fires which have destroyed school buildings fires in schools.

Schools are, in general, very safe environments in relation to fire safety as they are typically occupied during the daytime and have multiple exit routes. In addition, all schools must comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, including having an up-to-date fire risk assessment and conducting regular fire drills.

The Government attaches the highest priority to the safety of pupils and staff in schools. Following the Grenfell tragedy, the Department contacted all bodies responsible for safety in school buildings in England. They were instructed to carry out checks to identify any buildings with aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding so that they could be further investigated, and any risks were managed and dealt with promptly. This work focused on identifying buildings over 18 metres or with residential accommodation with ACM. The one school in scope has already carried out remediation work to remove and replace the cladding.

The Department is working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to implement the ban on the use of combustible cladding on new residential buildings over 18 metres, including residential schools and student accommodation. More widely, we will continue to work across Government to take forward the findings from the Hackitt Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.