ASCL responds to NAO report on neglect of school estate

Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the National Audit Office (NAO) report that around 700,000 children in England are studying in schools requiring major rebuilding or refurbishment.
“This report paints a shocking picture of the government’s neglect of school buildings. It is appalling that so many children are in facilities that are in such poor condition that this can negatively impact on their attainment and on teacher retention. It is even more worrying that the risk of building collapse causing death or injury is assessed by the Department for Education itself as being ‘critical and very likely’.
“The school estate is riddled with a type of concrete that is prone to failure as well as the presence of asbestos in many buildings. Both these issues are a very serious public health risk and require a much greater sense of urgency, action and investment on the part of government.
“It is perfectly clear that the government has made a conscious decision to deprioritise education over the past 14 years and the deterioration of the school estate is one of the results of this mindset alongside the worsening situation across the country of severe teacher shortages.”