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'Thorough' review of Bexley school building materials in wake of Grenfell Tower fire

PUBLISHED: 15:18 27 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:10 27 June 2017

Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. David Mirzoeff/PA Wire

Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. David Mirzoeff/PA Wire

The fire claimed 79 lives

College and school buildings around the borough are undergoing thorough safety reviews in the wake of Grenfell Tower which killed nearly 80 people.

The blaze, which was started by a faulty fridge freezer in the west London tower block on June 14, has sparked major safety reviews across the country, as the building’s outer cladding was criticised for appearing to spread the fire, and reportedly failing safety tests.

A spokesperson from London South East Colleges, which has a campus in Erith, said: “We have up to date fire procedures and risk assessments, which are subject to regular review.

“The safety of our staff and students is paramount, so as an additional precaution in light of the recent tragic events, we are working with our property team to undertake a thorough review of the materials used where cladding is present on our buildings.

“In addition to this work, we have also re-issued fire safety advice to staff and students at all our campuses.”

The trust behind Harris Academy Falconwood added its own assurances, saying: “Working with the government’s Education Skills Funding Agency, we are carrying out a thorough audit on materials at all of our schools.

“Our pupils’ safety is an absolute priority and we are confident that the current risk is low; all of our schools have good internal fire detection systems designed to protect safe routes of escape and, like all good schools, we continually test our alarms and undertake regular drills with staff and pupils.”

A spokesperson from Bexley council added: “We have written to all contractors that have carried out recent expansion works in our schools to ask them whether, in light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the work they undertook requires any testing or remedial works.

“We are also taking part in a national fire safety audit organised by the ESFA (Education & Skills Funding Agency) of all maintained schools to ensure that their fire risk assessments and procedures are all up to date.

“The ESFA have also written to all academies in the borough.”

Academies Enterprise Trust, which runs Bexleyheath Academy said: “In the event of a possible fire immediate action is always taken to evacuate the building, and the site if necessary.

“Bexleyheath Academy was constructed through a privately financed agreement and is built almost entirely of brick.”

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