To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with Zurich Municipal on (a) fire safety in schools and (b) their findings published 5 September 2020 that schools in England are nearly twice as likely to suffer a blaze as other types of buildings; and what his Department’s policy is on sprinkler systems in new school buildings.
12 January 2021
Fires in school buildings are very rare and in the vast majority of cases are confined to the room or object of origin or cause no damage, resulting in minimal or no disruption to education.
Department officials met Zurich Municipal on 14 December 2020. We expect that dialogue to continue early this year, and in due course to be able to gain a better understanding of the impact of fire on schools and pupils, based on the data that underpins the Zurich report, Home Office fire and rescue incident statistics, as well as on the data the Department will continue to collect from its Risk Protection Arrangement.
At present, sprinklers must be fitted in new schools where they are deemed necessary to keep pupils and staff safe. All new school building projects must also comply with building regulations, including on fire safety. The Department is due to launch a full public consultation on Building Bulletin 100 in early 2021, which will consider the implementation of various fire safety measures, including sprinkler systems.