In March 2015 the NUT undertook a short on-line survey of a small sample of members. The responses were helpful in that they confirmed our fears about standards of asbestos management in many schools. The findings also show that while there is a long way to go in terms of getting messages across about the risks to children and the risks to staff, there was near total agreement that there should be a long term strategy on the part of the Government for the eradication of asbestos from schools.
- 44 per cent of respondents had not been told whether their school contains asbestos. This is quite shocking since most schools (approximately 86 per cent) do contain asbestos. If teachers haven’t been told, that means that not even basic awareness training will have been given.
- Of the 46 per cent of respondents who knew that their school contains asbestos, 40 per cent had not been told where it is located, which means that they, and the children they teach, may be in danger of disturbing it
- More than 80 per cent of respondents said that parents had not been given information about the presence of asbestos and how it is managed. In the USA annual reports are mandatory.
- Very few of the respondents who said that their school does contain asbestos had seen a copy of their school’s asbestos management plan (only 15%)
- Of the respondents who knew that their school does contain asbestos, just over a third reported that there had been an incident which may have led to exposure. A selection of comments from respondents on particular incidents is at this link
- Over three quarters of respondents were unaware of the growing death toll among teachers linked to asbestos exposure.
- An even greater number (nearly 95 per cent) were unaware that Britain has the highest mesothelioma rate in the world.
- Only 20 per cent of respondents were aware that children are more at risk than adults from exposure to asbestos fibres, due to the long latency period for mesothelioma.
- Only 13 per cent of respondents were aware that schools are not routinely inspected to check how asbestos is being managed….