Are schools safe?

Eddisons secures over £20m for school building improvement projects
Demolition and Site Clearance for University of Bolton

Are schools safe?

Off the back of the National Audit Office and Department for Education’s report into Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete in schools, there is a growing request to investigate the government’s management of construction within the education sector.

Over 95% of school building elements surveyed between 2017 and 2019 were categorised as “good” or “satisfactory”. 0.3% of schools tested were grade ‘D’, which denotes the building having components in instant need of replacement or repair. However, last month, the NAO highlighted 38% of schools in direct danger of collapse.

As an industry, how do we fix this? Should we organise more funding for the issue, or do we need to go back to the drawing board?


Since 2015, the government has provided over £15 billion for schools to maintain their working order, with £1.8 billion committed for the upcoming school year.

The funding consists of:

Who’s responsible?

The responsibility of who keeps the schools in working order falls to the organisations that run the schools: academy trusts, local authorities, voluntary-aided school bodies. However, if there is a serious safety issue, the government will provide additional support on a case-by-case basis.

31% of school estates were built after 2000, meaning the assets are generally modern. But, just like old buildings aren’t all about to fall down, new buildings do not promise robust engineering and strong foundations.

How can we ensure the sustainability of our schools?

All school buildings going forward will be built with net zero carbon goals at their heart. For instance, there are plans for schools to be designed for a 20 degrees Celsius temperature increase and resilient to a 40 degrees Celsius temperature increase.

Educating students on issues like climate change, net zero emissions, and alternative fuels is another idea that has been tabled in government. Ensuring that younger generations are familiar with topics like these will hopefully encourage them to think about sustainability across a series of areas – not just construction.

Education is key in improving the quality of our buildings, and the safety of our future occupants.

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