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Tackling disrepair in school buildings

Wakefield MP calls for more action to tackle disrepair in school buildings

Simon Lightwood, Labour Member of Parliament for Wakefield, has called on the Government to do more to tackle problems of disrepair in schools across Wakefield, Horbury and Ossett including asbestos removal, leaking roofs and other structural issues.

Mr. Lightwood was speaking in a debate called for by the Labour Party in the House of Commons on Tuesday 23rd May which asked the government to release data concerning the conditions of school buildings, identify which schools are in urgent need of repair and whether schools have been allocated and received funding for these repairs.

During the debate, Mr. Lightwood highlighted Highfield School in Ossett. He said that on a visit to the school earlier this year, Assistant Headteacher Mrs. Hickey described that due to the level of disrepair there were “numerous occasions when water seeped into their roof space, causing ceilings to collapse”. As a result, “some children had to be sent home for the day”.

The Government released details of a new round of funding on 22nd May which will provide £456 million this year. Addressing this figure, Mr Lightwood called it a “drop in the ocean” and “too little too late”. Quoting data published by the Department of Education in 2021, Mr Lightwood revealed that it would cost approximately £11.4bn to replace and repair the extent of the damage in schools.

Mr. Lightwood highlighted that “only 1 out of the 47 schools” in his Wakefield constituency are on the Government’s school rebuilding programme.

Mr Lightwood said:

“This is yet another sticking plaster policy from this Government, quite literally papering over the cracks in our schools, rather than getting to grips with the real issue”

“Parents, teachers and pupils deserve to know whether their schools are safe places to learn and work.

“It’s completely unacceptable that this Government are refusing to publish this information.”


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