Education up in smoke
Arson attacks on schools are serious and frequent. 20 schools a week suffer an arson attack in the UK. A third of these happen during normal school hours. Around 90,000 children are affected by school arson each year.
How to tackle the behaviour
Arsonists are most commonly aged between 10-18 years of age, and live in the local area. School arson is frequently carried out by either a pupil, ex-pupil or someone with siblings at the school. Many arson attacks are opportunist.
Protect your school
Schools can protect themselves against the threat of arson with a few simple techniques. Protection does not need to mean 24-hour security, expensive alarm systems or hours of risk assessment. A few simple, low-cost housekeeping techniques can help to reduce the vulnerability of a school to arson and vandalism. The APB leaflet How to combat Arson in Schools gives some practical advice for schools as to how to make themselves less of a target. Not only will this reduce the risk of arson but will also improve security and the health and safety standards of the school.
Sprinklers in Schools
Jim Knight, the Minister of State for Schools announced on 26 February 2007 in the House of Commons that it would now be policy for sprinklers to be fitted in all new and refurbished schools.
New schools (or those which undergo a major refurbishment using public money) will have to complete an analysis using a risk assessment tool to determine whether they should be fitted with a sprinkler system.
The announcement follows a long campaign by the Arson Prevention Bureau to make the fitting of sprinklers compulsory in schools and is supported by many insurance companies, MP’s, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and many other influential groups and individuals.
School Page Content
There are on average 38 school fires each week, with around 17 identified as malicious. Insurers have warned about an increase in the number of major fires – with 40 per year causing more than £5 million worth of damage.
The programme to replace or refurbish all secondary schools has already begun at a cost of £45 billion over the next 15 years.