School leaders’ union NAHT is calling for better asbestos management training for school leaders after a recent HSE inspection round resulted in 13 per cent of the 150 academies and free schools inspected being served with improvement notices.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of NAHT said: “The HSE report reinforces the findings of our recent survey * where we heard reports of inconsistent support for school leaders who share the responsibility for the management of asbestos in schools with no training or expertise in this issue. Local authority cuts mean that specialist support often no longer exists and not all academies and free schools have access to expertise.
“Whilst our members make the best of managing asbestos in their schools, the current situation can leave them exposed, at risk and with inadequate resources to address the issues they face. We made these points in the recent DfE call for evidence to inform their review of the management of asbestos in schools, and we called for mandatory, good quality training for all head teachers, staff and governors.
“We also want the DfE to establish the extent and condition of the asbestos in schools and see investment plans developed to remove the worst of the asbestos and ultimately all the asbestos in UK schools.”
*survey of NAHT members October 2013
NAHT’s advice on the responsibilities of school leaders in school can be found on http://www.naht.org.uk/welcome/advice/advice-home/governance-and-infrastructure-advice/guidance-on-asbestos-management-in-schools/
Members can also get advice from the NAHT Assure who have produced a short animated video aimed at school leaders who want to fully understand their legal responsibilities regarding asbestos management. It lays out what the responsibilities are and clearly illustrates the five steps required to meet them.