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Schools: Fires

Question for Department for Education

UIN 132954, tabled on 30 December 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 19 November 2020 to Question 115702, for what reason his Department has not made an assessment of the effect of school fires on levels of educational attainment; whether his Department plans to start collecting that information; and what assessment he has made of the importance of that information to understanding the wider impact of school fires.

Answered on

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.