The proportion of new schools being built with fire-preventing sprinklers has halved to just 35 per cent since 2010, prompting fresh concerns over pupil safety following the Grenfell Tower blaze.
The figure could also decrease further as the government plans to water down the wording of its school fire safety guidance by suggesting sprinkler systems are no longer expected – a move lambasted by fire officers and education unions.
But the Department for Education (DfE) denies the rewording changes the policy, it only clarifies it.
Over 50 people died last week after a huge fire erupted at Grenfell Tower – a 24-storey housing block in west London.
After the blaze, Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow education secretary, tweeted that she warned the government last year of the dangers of removing an “expectation” to fit sprinklers in all new schools, and that they “should be fitted in housing too”.
I was warning the Tories last August about removing the requirement to fit sprinklers in schools, they should be fitted in housing too! https://t.co/YrhB9wdlrm
— Angela Rayner MP (@AngelaRayner) June 14, 2017