Skip to main content

Schools: Closures

Question for Department for Education

UIN 140337, tabled on 6 February 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many state-funded schools have been (a) temporarily or (b) permanently closed since December 2019 because one or more school buildings was deemed unsafe; and if she will publish a list of those schools.

Answered on

21 February 2023

Responsibility for ensuring the safety and condition of school buildings lies with the responsible bodies, such as Local Authorities, trusts and voluntary aided bodies.

The Department provides support to schools and responsible bodies and has allocated over £13 billion since 2015 for keeping schools safe and operational, including £1.8 billion committed this financial year, informed by consistent data on the school estate. In addition, the Department’s School Rebuilding Programme will transform 500 schools over the next decade, prioritising schools in poor condition or with potential safety issues.

Where the Department is notified of a significant safety issue with a school building, that cannot be managed within local resources, the Department considers additional support on a case-by-case basis.

Responsible bodies are not obliged to report building-related school closures to the Department. The Department does not routinely collect or hold complete data of the information requested. Since 2019, the Department has been capturing the closures that have been reported due to a range of issues, including building safety issues. The Department works closely with responsible bodies and schools to minimise the impact of closures and ensure continuity of education for pupils.

Since December 2019, the Department has been made aware of 39 schools that have closed on a temporary or permanent basis, because one or more school buildings have been deemed unsafe. This is due to a range of reasons, including structural concerns and general condition issues, such as roofing and boiler failures.

Of the 31 schools that temporarily closed, 23 were full closures and 8 were partial closures. A partial closure would include the closure of a classroom(s) and/or a building on the site. Of the 8 schools that permanently closed, 3 were full closures and 5 were partial closures. The Department does not hold data on the number of classrooms and/or buildings within a school site that closed. Where schools have closed, pupils have been relocated to existing spaces available on the school site or into alternative accommodation until a long-term solution is in place.

Individual schools and the bodies responsible engage closely with parents and pupils regarding any closures, including alternative arrangements that may be required.