Email sent – 10/01/2016 20:1

Mr Bradshaw

you are aware, I have raised fire safety issues at the 6 Private Finance Initiative schools in Exeter.
Please see the following article about PFI school fire hazards in the

Does fire safety construction flaw at PFI school affect
Wirral schools?

11/1/16 08:19 Edited to change University Academy Birkenhead to Birkenhead Park School as it changed its name last year.

A report to be considered by councillors on the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority‘s Performance and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday afternoon warns, during a fire at a PFI school on Merseyside, that smoke spread from a ground floor kitchen to a protected staircase.

Further investigation found the same problem at eleven additional PFI sites.

Wirral has a number of schools constructed using PFI that are managed by Wirral Schools Services Limited. It is not known if any of the schools on the Wirral are affected by this. Here is the information from the report.

Case Study 2: Fire Separation in Major Construction projects

24. A site visit to a local school on 9th January 2015 following a fire on 7th January 2015 (incident no 32304) identified serious fire separation concerns due to smoke spread from the ground floor kitchen to the 1st floor protected staircase.

25. The school was built as part of a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) initiative. The investigation led to 11 additional PFI sites where the same issues were detected. As the issues potentially had national implications Protection Officers utilised the CFOA [Chief Fire Officer Association] Community of Practice to share the risk information. It was subsequently established that the same issue had been found in other major new-build / refurbishment projects across England with estimated repair bills totalling in excess of £100m.

26. Officers escalated the issue to the CFOA Fire Engineering Technical Standards Group due to the national potential in order that the risk information can be effectively shared with other Fire and Rescue Services and that national guidance is produced to ensure that these issues are dealt with consistently and effectively.”

Will either of the two Wirral councillors (Cllr Lesley Rennie and Cllr Jean Stapleton) on MFRA’s Performance and Scrutiny Committee ask if any of the Wirral PFI Schools (Leasowe Primary, Bebington High, Birkenhead Park School (previously University Academy Birkenhead and before that Park High), South Wirral High, Weatherhead High, Hilbre High, Prenton High, Wallasey High and Wirral Grammar Girls) or the two Wirral PFI City Learning Centres (Wallasey City Learning Centre and Hilbre City Learning Centre) are affected by this?”

I would call upon MP to write to the Devon County Council to enquire if such dangers have been considered at the Exeter PFI schools.

With thanks

Alan Dransfield