Council raises concern over availability of air cleaning units for schools

Telford & Wrekin Council has raised concern that not enough of its schools will have access to air cleaning units under a government scheme.

Telford & Wrekin Council has raised the concern over the availability of the units
Telford & Wrekin Council has raised the concern over the availability of the units

The council has voiced concern that a government initiative to provide 7,000 units to schools, colleges, and early years facilities, will not be enough to cover the borough's schools.

The units are to help reduce the risk of pupils and staff catching Covid.

However, the government has said that the units are not needed in the vast majority of classrooms – only where there is poor ventilation that cannot be easily improved.

Councillor Shirley Reynolds, Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: "In a time when it’s ever so important to protect face-to-face education and minimise disruption as much as possible, the government’s air cleaning units offer is totally inadequate.

“A very low number of air cleaning units has been allocated nationally and on top, the educational settings need to actively apply for them and meet certain criteria to be successful.

“We expect that the majority of our borough’s educational settings will be left by the government without this essential support, where it is necessary to improve their ventilation on site.

“Classrooms are the best place for our children to be in, for continuity of their education and for their own wellbeing.

“We are calling for the government to urgently increase its air cleaning units offer, so more classrooms benefit from them and more children and staff reduce their risk of catching Covid and being away from school.”

However, a Department for Education spokesperson said: “Schools across the country reopened this week and staff are working tirelessly to ensure settings can stay open for face-to-face learning, and despite the challenges in this first week of term, millions of pupils have returned to be with their friends and teachers.

“Air cleaning units are not needed in the vast majority of classrooms – only where there is poor ventilation that cannot be easily improved. Based on feedback from schools that there are only a small number of cases where good ventilation is not possible, we are supplying up to 8,000 air cleaning units from next week.

“Together with mass testing, bringing in supply staff and the hard work of schools and teachers, we are confident that our measures will maximise classroom time for students.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News