Today, 17 October, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Fire Brigade Union have written to the Education Secretary, Justine Greening, criticising the Department for Education’s policy on sprinklers.
They claim guidance from the department has been updated and removed the requirement for sprinklers to be installed in new schools.
This is incorrect and misleading. In fact, it has never been compulsory for school buildings to have sprinklers installed and has always been the case that sprinklers are installed in new school buildings if a risk assessment identifies them as necessary or if they are required under a local planning policy.
Nothing has changed and it is disingenuous for the NUT to make this claim.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
We are not changing the rules on fire safety. All new schools must comply with building and fire safety regulations. Where it is concluded that sprinklers must be fitted to protect property or keep children safe, they will be. It has never been compulsory for sprinklers to be fitted in schools. The proposed change is simply to clarify the guidance. We are considering the responses to our consultation and will respond in due course.