Just two per cent of the promised carbon dioxide monitors have been delivered to schools so far, a month after the government’s £25 million ventilation scheme started.
But education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said around a third of those promised would be delivered to schools by the end of the month, before deliveries “ramp up” in November.
Challenged on the roll-out pace by BBC Breakfast this morning, Zahawi explained it was dictated by a combination of supply and working with schools to “see how many they need”.
Around 300,000 carbon dioxide monitors have been promised to state schools as part of a £25 million drive to improve ventilation.
Just 41 schools got monitors in the first week of the scheme, which was the week starting September 6.
Special schools have been prioritised. The first mainstream schools are set to get monitors later this month.
Asked for an update on the number of monitors delivered so far, he said the “last number” he saw was around 7,000 – which is just over two per cent of those promised.
But Zahawi said that over 90,000 will be delivered by the end of this month and then “through November we scale up to all 300,000”.
“We are ramping up through this month and next,” he added. “The important thing is to get all 300,000 into schools to help them monitor the CO2 in the classroom.”
A TeacherTapp survey of 7,500 teachers conducted last month found 80 per cent were teaching in classrooms without a CO2 monitor. However, this is likely to include schools that have bought their own.
The education secretary also said today the government was “looking at ventilation and how we make sure that schools have access to ventilation if they need it,” adding there was “lots of technology” available.
Asked how he would enable schools to access such ventilation technology, he said: “So I’m looking to buy a quantity, and then also create a market that schools can access if they need them.”
Zahawi ‘will deliver’ £30k salary pledge
Zahawi was also challenged about £30,000 starting salaries for new teachers.
In its 2019 election manifesto, the Conservatives pledged to raise teachers’ starting salaries to £30,000 by 2022-23.
However, Schools Week revealed last year this promise had been abandoned and the target is now set for 2024 instead after a pay freeze was enacted for teachers.
Zahawi promised he will “deliver on that pledge”, but would only be able to say more after the spending review.
He also claimed that £30,000 starting salaries are “pretty much almost there now”. Pay scales published this month show the minimum starting salary for teacher outside of London is £25,714.