To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 27 June 2019 to Question 270440 on Schools: Fire Regulations, if he will estimate the number of schools that have combustible timber cladding.
The Government attaches the highest priority to the safety of pupils and staff in schools.
All schools in England are built to appropriate standards and comply with building regulations. They must also comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, including having an up-to-date Fire Risk Assessment and conducting regular fire drills. Schools are very safe environments as they are typically low rise, occupied during the daytime and have multiple exit routes.
The Department does not hold figures on the number of schools in England that have timber cladding. Timber is used as a safe cladding material throughout the construction industry and must comply with building regulations. Should there be any issue found with the appropriate use of any building material, the Department would act immediately to ensure all schools remain safe.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have a series of ongoing safety tests on building materials and have issued advice where appropriate. This advice has focused on high rise residential buildings over 18 metres, reflecting a proportionate level of risk.
Following the Grenfell Tower fire, the Department took immediate action. It undertook a survey of the all schools to identify buildings over 18 metres with aluminium composite material; and to check the appropriate fire safety measures were in place.
The Department continues to update all schools on relevant advice on fire safety when issued by MHCLG and its independent expert advisory panel.