Government in 'U-turn' over fire safety in schools

The Department for Education reportedly drops plans branded unsafe by teaching unions

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Government cost-cutting plans to relax fire safety standards in new schools have been dropped, it is being reported.

According to The Observer,  there has been a rethink at the Department for Education, which started a consultation on new draft guidance last year.

A suggestion that "school buildings do not need to be sprinkler protected to achieve a reasonable standard of safety" is reportedly to be stripped out of the revised draft guidance.

A DfE spokesman said: "There will be no change to the fire safety laws for schools or our determination to protect children's safety.

"It has always been the case, and remains the case, that where the risk assessment required for any new building recommends sprinklers are installed to keep children safe, they must be fitted.

"Alongside the rest of government, we will take forward any findings from the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire.

Teaching and headteacher unions last week wrote to education secretary Justine Greening asking for urgent clarity on the fire safety plans, saying the proposals showed "a total disregard for the health and safety of children and staff".

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