Teaching union makes new call for asbestos removal from schools

July 25, 2016

Calls for the UK government to remove asbestos from all schools and colleges have been stepped up following the death of a teacher.

Sue Stephens, who was a primary school teacher in Buckinghamshire for almost 30 years, died on 26 June of the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma. The Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) said the government must prioritise the removal of asbestos from all schools and colleges.

Kevin Courtney, acting general secretary of the teaching union NUT, said, “Yet another teacher’s life has been tragically cut short by this dreadful, and entirely preventable, disease. Nothing can be done to put right past asbestos exposure, but we must do more to protect future generations of schoolchildren and staff. The government must now set out a long-term strategy for the phased removal of asbestos from all schools.”

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the union ATL, said, “It’s scandalous that every year teachers and support staff are dying from asbestos related illnesses because they have been exposed to asbestos in school. The government must listen and start a phased removal of all asbestos in schools so that no more children or teachers are exposed to asbestos and risk dying from this entirely preventable disease.”