Opposition Day Debate: Safety of School Buildings

On Wednesday, 6 September 2023, HM Opposition held an Opposition day debate on the Safety of School Buildings. There was a major issue with RAAC in school buildings. The Secretary of State has written to me to say that none of the Schools in Walsall South had been affected and one was still investigating. The motion tabled by the Opposition asked for the papers to find out what was known at the time. This issue of the safety of schools must be addressed by the Secretary of State and the Government must provide the money for schools to make the repairs or take action. 

The Motion :

“That a humble Address be presented to His Majesty, that he will be graciously pleased to give directions that there will be laid before this House by 13 September 2023 the following papers –

(a) submissions from the Department for Education to HM Treasury related to the spending reviews in 2020 and 2021; and

(b) all papers, advice, and correspondence, including submissions and electronic communications (including communications with and from Ministers and Special Advisers) within and between the Cabinet Office (including the Office of the Prime Minister), the Department for Education and HM Treasury relating to these submissions concerned with school buildings.”

The Motion was defeated: Ayes: 175   Noes: 309.

There are schools in Walsall South which were allocated funds under Building Schools for the Future. Joseph Leckie was awarded £17million. I raised this with various schools Ministers since I became a Member of Parliament in 2010. Rt Hon Nick Gibb visited Joseph Leckie in 2016 and saw that funds were urgently needed, and since funding was granted some of the building has been rebuilt. However, more needs to be done such as the Dining Hall. Blue Coat Academy also required urgent funding for repairs to the roof. Schools that can show they need repairs should be given the money, and this must not come out of the schools’ budgets.