Pres­sure is Gov­ern­ment

The Chronicle - - News - By MICHAEL MUNCASTER michael.muncaster@trin­i­tymir­ @@MichaelMjourno

Re­porter LABOUR Party chair­man Ian Lav­ery is call­ing on Min­is­ters to fit new and re­fur­bished schools with sprin­klers af­ter four class­rooms were de­stroyed in a sus­pected ar­son at­tack.

A fire broke out at St Benet Bis­cop Catholic Academy in Bedling­ton, Northum­ber­land, on Oc­to­ber 26, caus­ing “sub­stan­tial dam­age” to one class­room.

Teach­ers said the blaze spread and dam­aged three other class­rooms at the school, which is not fit­ted with sprin­klers.

Northum­bria Po­lice has launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent and be­lieve the fire may have been started de­lib­er­ately.

Now, Wans­beck MP Mr Lav­ery has writ­ten to Home Sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd, Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Jus­tine Green­ing and Hous­ing Min­is­ter Alok Sharma de­mand­ing sprin­klers be in­stalled in all schools.

In the let­ter, Mr Lav­ery said: “Many lo­cal peo­ple have been in touch re­gard­ing the pro­vi­sion of sprin­kler sys­tems, ap­palled that their pres­ence is not manda­tory ei­ther in new build or ex­ist­ing schools.

“Sprin­klers are an es­sen­tial safety fea­ture in the con­trol of fire.

“Fol­low­ing the tragedy at Gren­fell Tower, the im­por­tance of sprin­klers in pub­lic spa­ces, as well as res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties, has been high­lighted to the Gov­ern­ment on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions.”

Mr Lav­ery added: “The blaze, which oc­curred out­side of school hours, re­sulted in the de­struc­tion of im­por­tant learn­ing spa­ces but thank­fully no-one was hurt.

“This in­ci­dent brings home the im­por­tance of en­sur­ing that our chil­dren are safe whilst be­ing taught, but also the im­por­tance of en­sur­ing dis­rup­tion to their ed­u­ca­tion is min­imised wher­ever pos­si­ble.

Labour MP and Party chair­man Ian Lav­ery

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