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Union turns up the heat over fire

A QUARTER of teachers say that their schools do not carry out fire drills every term and a third say they are not offered training in fire safety, according to a survey.

The research, carried out by the NASUWT union, has prompted calls for tougher regulations. There is no legal minimum to the number of fire practices, but schools must carry out fire risk assessments. Guidelines recommend that drills take place once a term.

The survey of 5,000 teachers also revealed the poor state of some school buildings. Nearly half the teachers reported leaking roofs and ill-fitting or broken windows. One third said their schools suffered from damp.

Schools used extensively for clubs and community groups were also suffering. Forty per cent of those whose schools were used out of hours reported an increase in damage to school property. There were problems with site security, cleanliness, equipment damage and damage to staff vehicles.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: "There should be no vagueness when it comes to the lives of pupils and teachers. Having schools carry out their own risk assessments on fire safety and doing fire drills if they want to is not enough."

* For more information, go to www.firesafetylaw.communities.gov.uk

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