Monday, 4 November 2013

Gove considers cutting Asbestos safety group

Following from earlier article about the dangers of asbestos in schools, it is shocking to find that the DfE appears to be considering cutting its support to the stakeholder group which deals with policy in this area.

A leaked report highlighted in the Guardian on 28th October, ‘Asbestos Saving?’ has caused deep dismay among unions representing teaching and support staff in schools.

The confidential report suggests possible areas where cutbacks at DfE headquarters could be made, including a suggestion that stakeholder involvement in raising awareness about the need to protect staff and children from the dangers of asbestos in schools should end, with the scrapping of the DfE Asbestos Steering Committee.

Joint Union Asbestos Committee Chair Julie Winn, said today:

 ‘It is depressing, but not entirely surprising, to learn that the DfE is considering this move. Working together with the union, employer, and school governor representatives, as well as the asbestos experts, is the best way for the DfE to address this long-standing health issue. 

The fact that the DfE is even considering such a move shows that it is not serious about its responsibilities and is more focused on silencing voices which challenge its view that the presence of asbestos in at least 75 per cent of our schools is not a problem.

If this is indeed the DfE’s intention, the forthcoming review of asbestos policy in schools is likely to be a complete sham, with the conclusion being that asbestos in schools is not a problem and therefore consultation with stake holders is not necessary.  We profoundly disagree with such a cynical approach.’

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