“Tory chiefs have NO idea if schools are firetraps as Grenfell triggers urgent cladding review”

“Tory education chiefs say they do not know whether thousands of schools are potential firetraps.

Despite warnings raised over combustible wood cladding, Schools Standards Minister Nick Gibb admits he hasn’t a clue how many schools have it.

And nor does he know if it poses any kind of fire risk.

Now Labour is calling for an urgent review of the kind of cladding used in schools and other public buildings.

It comes in the wake of London’s Grenfell Tower disaster.

Aluminium cladding containing a plastic filling was blamed for the quick spread of the 2017 fire, which left 72 dead.

The tower’s burned shell still stands – wrapped in white and topped by a green heart, which became the symbol of Grenfell.

Shadow Children’s Minister Steve Reed said: “What they didn’t do for Grenfell they must do for schools.”

He raised concerns with the Department for Education after parents approached him with worries about wood cladding at a school in his Croydon North constituency, in South London.

But Mr Gibb told him: “The department has made no specific assessment of the fire safety risk posed by timber cladding on school buildings.

“And it does not hold figures on the number of schools in England that have timber cladding.”

Mr Reed hit back: “There’s no inclination to even find out whether children are in danger. We need a full review.

“We might be sending ­children to schools day after day which are a serious risk. Yet we cannot get any information as to whether children are safe.”


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