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Are Schools really bad for your health??

English schools have made the news recently, but not for the reasons that you may think.
For once, it is nothing to do with test results, league tables or school initiatives.

Instead it is for housing one of the most harmful materials used in the building trade – Asbestos.

A BBC article published on 02 December 2016 highlighted the fact that Councils in England have paid out at least £10 million in compensation to people who have developed illnesses after being exposed to asbestos in school buildings.

The people exposed are not even the people who built and maintained the schools, but are instead the people who chose to teach within them.

It is well known that old buildings are likely to include some form of asbestos and exposure to just a small amount of asbestos dust can cause a life threatening disease.

However, people were not aware of the risk that old school buildings carried and by old, we mean any buildings built before the year 2000!

Rachel Reeves MP, chair of the Asbestos in Schools Group states; “This is a ticking time bomb because very few teachers and parents know that there is asbestos in schools. The very least that we should do is to make sure that this information is available to them.”

The Daily Mail reported in their article of 06 December 2016 the story of a 68 year old Teacher, Sue Steven who sadly died following her diagnosis of Malignant Mesothelioma.

The Greater Devon Coroner in the Inquest held that the Teacher was exposed to asbestos during her time as a teacher in Buckinghamshire and that she had specifically recalled the building undergoing repairs and asbestos being removed by builders during lessons.

Mrs Steven’s daughter launched a petition prior to her mother’s death, calling for the Government to make it law to begin to remove all asbestos from schools by 2028.

The Department of Education has confirmed that the health and safety of children and staff in schools is vital which is why they are investing £23bn in school buildings by 2021.

Sarah Low & Emma Leary

If you or anyone you know are concerned about asbestos exposure, contact a member of our dedicated Asbestos Team on 0151 933 3333 or by email to or

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