Sprinklers call to Government following big fire

One of the classrooms at St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy that was burned to the ground.
One of the classrooms at St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy that was burned to the ground.

Calls have been made for the introduction of mandatory sprinkler systems in all schools across the country following a major fire in Bedlington.

Activists in the town have started a Parliamentary petition and Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery has written to three Government ministers.

The fire at St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy in the early hours of Thursday, October 26, completely destroyed two classrooms and damaged two others. Northumbria Police is treating it as arson.

The title of the petition is Require all schools to have sprinklers fitted. It can be signed at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/203838
St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy is in the constituency of Mr Lavery, chairman of the Labour Party.

He has written to Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, and Alok Sharma, Minister of State for Housing and Planning.

The letter includes the following: ‘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.

‘The incident at St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy 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.

‘I call on you to look at this issue as a priority. With over 700 fires in schools in England per year, can we really afford to ignore this issue any longer?’