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Past newsletters - Content

12 March

Government Review of Asbestos Policy in Schools released

A welcome for the review and an analysis of the flaws that need rectifying

(Mar 2015)

Government review of Asbestos Policy for Schools blocked

1. Calls for immediate publication of the DfE review into asbestos in schools.
2. No audit - DfE do not know how many schools contain asbestos.
3. BBC News (9 Mar).

a. Interview with former pupil dying of mesothelioma.
b. Nine out of 10 schools contain asbestos.
c. Mesothelioma statistics.

4. Coroner's verdict: Teacher and school kitchen worker died of an industrial disease. (mesothelioma)


(Jan 2015)

Government policy review essential to halt increasing deaths.

1. Government review of asbestos running out of time.
2. Shadow Minister: "Introduce a strategy for the removal of asbestos"
3. Council removing asbestos accessible to children
4. HSE policy of management regularly fails in schools
5. School teachers, support staff and former pupils mesothelioma deaths increase.
6."They are not just statistics, they are people"
7. Little has changed in more than a quarter of a century.


School asbestos - HSE overseen worst mesothelioma incidence in world. (AiS 134)

1. Government Review of Asbestos policy for Schools has far reaching implications
2. Children more at risk from exposure to asbestos. 4000 -6000 former pupils expected to die
3. Former pupils with mesothelioma
4. Policy of managing asbestos often fails
5. 29% of schools receive HSE enforcement action or written advice for failing to manage their asbestos
6. Government confirms no system in place to assess asbestos management standards in schools. 4000 deaths graded "low risk"
7. HSE give Ministers and MPs unjustified assurances that all is well
8. HSE have overseen the worst mesothelioma incidence in the world.9. Caerphilly Council take the lead in removing asbestos accessible to children from schools.


Academies asbestos insurance, HSE warning to schools (AiS 133)

1. Government fund will meet asbestos related claims from former pupils
2. HSE warning: “No gas masks should be worn or handled by children or teachers.”
3. HSE warning: WW1 steel helmets should not be worn or handled
4. Government review of asbestos policy for schools
5. Unions’ surveys of members show a lack of asbestos awareness in schools.


3 April 2014

Asbestos in Schools - Policy review. Parliamentary actions. Wales policy vacuum (AiS 132)

1. Government Review. Schools' Asbestos Policy
2. All Party Parliamentary Group- 'The Need for Action' - booklet
3. HofC Early day Motion: Call for strategic action
4. Meeting Shadow Secretary of State for Education: Agrees school asbestos a serious problem
5. Wales: No one accepts responsibility for Welsh school asbestos policy
6. WW2 Gas Masks: HSE warn schools about asbestos content. Should not be used for reenactment or handled


22 Nov 2013

Warning to Schools, Schools Minister meeting, increased teacher death rate, government review of asbestos policy - input needed

1. WWII gas mask warning to schools from DfE and JUAC
2. Meeting with the Schools Minister
3. Number of school teachers dying of mesothelioma has increased
4. Asbestos ripped out of school with crowbars. Failures in asbestos managment. School fined
5. More than £1million needed to make school safe from asbestos
6. Review of Government Policy on asbestos in schools. Evidence and input needed
7. Sec of State and Schools Minister agreed to scrap the DfE Asbestos Steering Group


7 June 2013

Government advisory committee on cancer conclude: Children are more at risk from exposure to asbestos

1. Government committee: Children more at risk from asbestos
2. Government internal review promised but not impartial
3. Long term strategic plan needed.
4. Australia's new long term strategic plan as an example


25 April 2013

HSE criticised over safety. Parliamentary Questions asked. Asbestos warnings still not sent by DfE

1. HSE criticised. DfE fail to warn other schools

  • Background
  • HSE report criticised by Council. Wrong message sent to schools
  • HSE conceal report
  • DfE refuse to warn schools about dangerous heaters releasing asbestos
  • Parliamentary Question about HSE refusal to publish their report

2. Evidence to Parliamentary Select Committee examined. Misleading statements by HSE identified

3. Committee on Carcinogenicity update


17 Mar 2013

Summarises the Parliamentary Select Commmittee evidence on asbestos in schools of 13 March. It includes

  • Former pupils dying from asbestos exposure at school
  • Minister and HSE claim that policies working
  • Exclusion of asbestos from audit of school buildings and Minister's "flawed" reply
  • Best practice
  • Proactive inspections in schools reduced
  • Air sampling advocated by scientist
  • Lack of training and asbestos awareness in academies
  • Asbestos risk insurance is generally not available for pupils. Reason not addressed by Minister
  • HSE claim it is safer for asbestos to remain for the remaining life of school buildings.
  • European Parliament Resolution on the same day of the Committee Meeting supports AiS and JUAC recommendations


9 Mar 2013

  • Education Select Committee Hearing Asbestos in Schools - 13 March
  • Council in Court for ignoring Asbestos Threat in School
  • Cwmcarn School remains closed after Asbestos Contamination Identified
  • Warm Air Cabinet Heaters in Classrooms can Potentially Release asbestos fibres - Warnings dating to 1982 ignored
  • Latest Statistics of Teachers and Support Staff deaths from Mesothelioma are of concern.


1 Nov 2012

  • Asbestos closes school - report on national and local action
  • Report on childrens' vulnerability to asbestos
  • Review of Government policy on asbestos in schools
  • Parents right to know - report on Welsh petition
  • New guidance booklet from DfE on asbestos in schools


21 Jun 2012

  • School children are uninsurable for asbestos exposure risks
  • Quotes from authoritative sources
  • Background notes and references
  • Hansard quotes from Parliamentary Questions


1 Feb 2012

  • The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health says the presence of lethal dust fibres in school buildings is a “national scandal”
  • Statement by Chair of the All-Party Group
  • APPG report. "Asbestos in Schools. The need for Action"


17 Jan 2012

  • Minister excludes asbestos from audit of school buildings.
  • Minister. Report on deaths and secret cost benefit analysis.
  • Government Agencies provide misleading data to scientific and medical committees.
  • Department of Health Committee: increased risk to children from asbestos exposure.


11 Oct 2011

  • HSE Enforcement action - schools failing to manage asbestos.
  • HSE use unsafe workplace asbestos fibre level for children
  • Sec Ed article: Pro-active HSE inspections stopped.
  • Sec Ed article: James Review of capital spending should audit asbestos
  • Department of Health Committee tasked to assess relative vulnerability of children to asbestos - 40 years too late


9 Narch 2011

  • Supreme Court ruling on asbestos.
  • Report by solicitors
  • Report by Asbestos Victims Support
  • This case is important for any persons who have small doses of asbestos exposure and get mesothelioma.  It is important for those who have had exposure in schools.


30 Jun 2011

Government urged to be open with parents over asbestos in schools - as in USA.


21 Feb 2011

  • BBC programme on asbestos in schools
  •  School teachers deaths rise relentlessly
  • Minister fails to commission an assessment of the asbestos risks to school children
  • Parliamentary answer - includes flawed dismissal of teachers deaths and misleading justification for the policy of asbestos management
  • Enforcement action taken against schools for failing to manage asbestos


1 Jan 2011

  • Most schools contain asbestos. DETR report “the entire school population has been exposed to asbestos in school buildings.”
  •  Government is making policies without assessing the scale of the problem or the risks
  • Schools capital spending review. Major financial decisions without knowing the scale of the problem.
  • Schools opting out of LA control. Governors’ legal responsibilities. Failure to address asbestos implications.
  • Government policy: Asbestos to be left in situ and managed until the building reaches the end of its life.
  • Training not compulsory. Total funds allocated for training all headteachers £20,000
  • No intention to draft guidance for schools. Some guidance is confusing or dangerous.
  • Government policy of management is based on flawed survey of standards of asbestos management.


30 Oct 2010

  • Supreme Court. Profound implications for staff and pupils exposed to asbestos at school
  • Check your local authorities response to HSE questionnaire
  • Minister Meeting. Minister claims he has not seen critical safety reports. Despite assurances no statement on risk to children.
  • Succesful complaint to Press Complaints Commission. Daily Mail article by Christopher Booker
  • Increase in Mesothelioma Deaths Latest statistics show a relentless rise
  • Award to Michael Lees


11 Oct 2010

  • Minister's tactics to avoid costs of protecting children in school from asbestos
  • Teachers deaths and the condition of asbestos in schools
  • Minister has made spending decisions without assessing the risk to children
  • Decisions for Ministerial Meeting on Oct 14th


15 July 2010

  • HSE Enforcement Action.
  • Details of the Breaches.
  • "Endemic failures throughout the UK" Chairman Asbestos Consultants Association
  • Government action and inaction


15 Oct 2009

Yesterday, 14th October 2009 in a landmark case the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that 49 year old Dianne Willmore  had been negligently exposed to asbestos as a child at school. We understand this is the first time in this country that a person exposed to asbestos at school as a child has successfully fought a case through the courts and been awarded compensation from the people who negligently exposed her.

Very sadly Dianne Wilmore died today, just hours after hearing the Appeal Court’s judgement. We offer our most sincere sympathies to her family.