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Schools: Ventilation

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL2970, tabled on 11 October 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide funding to schools to improve ventilation systems.

Answered on

25 October 2021

Letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Good ventilation has also been associated with a range of benefits, including improved health, better concentration and lower rates of absence from schools and work. Measuring CO2 levels in indoor spaces is an effective way of identifying poor ventilation in multi-occupant spaces, such as classrooms.

The department has started to provide CO2 monitors to state-funded education settings, including early years, schools and further education providers, backed by £25 million in government funding. We expect that, in most cases, the monitors will confirm that existing ventilation is sufficient.

Where any issues are identified, in most cases we expect this to be resolved by opening windows and doors, or in some cases minor estate repairs may be needed. Day to day maintenance and minor repairs, including those to improve ventilation, should typically be funded from school revenue budgets. Schools also receive an annual Devolved Formula Capital Allocation to spend on small capital projects or capital purchases. For more substantial capital works, schools and those responsible for school buildings have access to funding to improve the condition of buildings through different routes depending on their size and type.

The case for additional support for settings to maintain good ventilation will be kept under review as the programme continues and schools and other settings use the monitors to further assess their ventilation needs.