DfE to provide 1,000 air cleaning units for AP and special schools

Unions said all schools should receive air cleaning units based on need, rather than only ones that could afford them

Unions said all schools should receive air cleaning units based on need, rather than only ones that could afford them

18 Nov 2021, 17:11

More from this author

The government has promised 1,000 air cleaning units for alternative provision and specialist or mainstream SEND settings, telling other schools to buy them.

A new online “marketplace” will be set up from early December for schools not eligible for Department for Education-funded units to buy suitable monitors at “reasonable” prices.

The DfE said it would provide funding for 1,000 units for eligible settings “where quick fixes to improve ventilation are not possible”.

These schools are being prioritised given their higher-than-average vulnerable pupil numbers, with further information on eligibility and applications promised next week.

“Air cleaning units, when used properly, can help reduce airborne contaminants in a poorly ventilated space, including viruses like COVID-19,” the DfE told heads in an email today.

“It should be noted that they are not a substitute for ventilation and should never be used as a reason to reduce ventilation,” the DfE notice added, highlighting the need to open windows and doors.

They may be appropriate in the “very few cases” where such measures or minor repair works are not sufficient.

Officials declared the £25 million CO2 monitor scheme is also “on track”, with 278,000 monitors now delivered to schools.

DfE had pledged to hand schools 300,000 monitors to help schools manage ventilation to reduce Covid’s spread. The announcement means 7.3 per cent or 22,000 of the total promised are yet to be delivered.

But officials said in an emailed update to schools that the remainder would be delivered this term.

James Bowen, director of policy for school leaders’ union NAHT, said it had been calling for more ventilation measures for months.

“We are pleased to see that some action is finally being taken, but it really is hard to fathom why it took so long, especially when other countries seem to have been doing this much earlier.

“If there is a limited supply of the devices, then it clearly makes sense to prioritise the most vulnerable, but this needs to be the start of a national programme where all schools that need them are provided with such devices.

“We simply cannot work on the basis that only those schools that can afford them are able to access them.”

More from this theme


Schools fear closures amid Covid testing kit delays

8% of schools reported having staff unable to attend due to a lack of Covid tests

James Carr

Edenred out as DfE sets up school meal voucher plan B

Edtech firm win 'contingency scheme' contract

Samantha Booth

State schools in deprived areas hit hardest by staff absence

Schools report using non-teaching staff to cover lessons and almost one in 10 combine classes as Omicron disruption continues

Freddie Whittaker

DfE to pay 100% of breakfast clubs costs until August in partial U-turn

Government delays plan to make schools pay 25% of breakfast costs and expands eligibility 'in light of Covid'

Freddie Whittaker

DfE says over 550 ex-teachers answered Covid call to arms

But no figures on how many have actually rejoined classrooms missing tens of thousands of teachers

Freddie Whittaker

Schools cut music and PE, and 7 other findings from DfE recovery research

Report looks at how schools coped with the impact of Covid in 2020-21

Freddie Whittaker

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply to Julii Brainard Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One comment