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Education in the media: 19 October 2016

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Today’s news review looks at upcoming coverage of how asbestos in schools is managed.

The BBC’s East Midlands Today will run a story about the management of asbestos in schools, including calls by campaigners for all asbestos to be removed from school buildings.

We are clear that the health and safety of children and staff in our schools is a priority and all asbestos must be managed properly. However, that doesn’t always mean removing it. Any time asbestos is removed there is a chance that it will produce carcinogenic dust, and sometimes leaving it in situ is the safest way to manage it.

Where schools become aware of asbestos, we look at how to handle it on a case by case basis – where removal is the safest option that will be considered. We also issue guidance to schools that sets out how they should manage asbestos, including by surveying asbestos-containing materials and regularly updating their records.

We will continue to run the Asbestos in Schools Steering group, which has provided invaluable expertise and commitment in progressing work in this important area.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

The health and safety of children and staff in our schools is highly important – that’s why we are investing £23 billion in school buildings by 2021. This will help ensure asbestos is managed safely and that the amount in school buildings continues to reduce over time.


Last year we published a comprehensive review of asbestos in schools and we are implementing its findings in full – we are continuing to work with the Health and Safety Executive and others on this issue to transform the way in which we collect information on asbestos to better our understanding.

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