The Shocking State of England’s School Buildings: A Failure of Government Responsibility

It is an absolute outrage that 39 state schools in England have been forced to close in the last three years due to unsafe buildings. What kind of message does this send to our children? That their education and safety are not a priority for the government? It is simply unacceptable.

And it’s not just partial closures either. In three cases, entire school sites had to be shut down permanently, forcing pupils to be relocated to alternative accommodation. How can this be allowed to happen in a country as developed as England?

The government’s excuses are simply not good enough. They claim that closures were due to a range of reasons, including structural concerns and general condition issues such as roofing and boiler failures. But why were these issues not addressed sooner? Why were the schools allowed to deteriorate to such a degree that they had to be closed down?

It is clear that the crumbling condition of the school estate in England has been ignored for far too long. The government’s own annual report in December acknowledged the risk of collapse of one or more blocks in some schools, and yet no action was taken. Seven education unions and the Royal Institute of British Architects have all demanded urgent action, but their cries have fallen on deaf ears.

The fact that authorities are not obliged to report building-related school closures to the Department for Education (DfE) raises the possibility of further closures on other school sites across England. How many more schools will have to close before the government takes this issue seriously?

It is time for the government to stop neglecting our schools and our children’s futures. They have allocated £13bn since 2015 for keeping schools safe and operational, including £1.8bn committed this financial year, but clearly, it is not enough. The DfE’s school rebuilding programme is a step in the right direction, but it needs to be prioritised and accelerated. Our children deserve better than this. It’s time for the government to take responsibility and take action.

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