Thursday, 18 June 2015

Our TV appearance and Asbestos in Schools!

If you don't already know, yesterday Paul, Ethan and I were included in a section on Asbestos in School on the BBC2 and BBC News Channels programme Victoria Derbyshire.  A few weeks ago the BBC came and spent the day filming with us and we have to say we were very pleased with the editing they did and how we came across on the small screen. If you haven't already seen it the whole programme can be viewed on iplayer and the interview section (including our part from 12 mins onwards) can be seen here

We have had so many lovely messages from friends and family since our appearance and we thank each and everyone of you that has watched, shared and commented or sent us messages.  They mean the world to us!  I shed tears on several occasions yesterday, at seeing myself and Paul and of course the star of the show, Ethan on the telly and also at the lovely, kind and overwhelming words from everyone that watched it.

Social media went mad late yesterday and this morning and I feel I need to try and keep up the momentum and keep Asbestos in Schools in the spotlight.

I have watched the programme several times now and would just like to highlight a few things I noticed from the programme.

Sarah Lyons from the NUT said they did not feel the current guidelines for schools were enough and the recent review did not go far enough.  There is no long term plan for removal and there is no reason why asbestos should not be removed from all schools.  Obviously it will need to be a phased removal and deal with asbestos in the worst condition.  She also said the latest figures show 86% of schools still contain asbestos!

Professor Julian Peto, Professor of Cancer and Epidemiology said that the average person his age (born in 1945) have 100,000 asbestos fibres per gram of lung but people born in the 1980s have more than 100 times less.  He also said 1 in 150 men his age die from Mesothelioma but of those more recently born the figure is 1 in 10,000.  When he was asked about the risks he said everyone is a pupil and that it is more about pupils than teachers.  Also the risk goes up after 30 years from exposure.  I find this very scary for our children, obviously at a young age you have years and years of life left and therefore years and years of risk if you are exposed.

Jonathan Francis, Joint Chairman, Asbestos Testing and Consultancy said every school needs to have a good survey but that they are still finding a lot of schools are not managing asbestos safely.

Eugene Symonds the Headteacher from West Kidlington Primary School in Oxfordshire said although he was satisfied the asbestos at his school was of no significant risk he did not feel it was right it should still be in schools but that they have to operate within the guidelines they are given which tell them the buildings are safe for children to learn in.

Watching and hearing all of the above, left me with absolutely no doubt whatsoever that we have done completely the right thing for our little boy Ethan who is due to start school in September.  We applied for him to attend a school that is currently being constructed and will therefore contain no asbestos.  I challenged our closest, catchment school and whilst they are 'following the guideline' and have asbestos that is low risk, any risk for me is still a risk and whilst that risk is avoidable we won't be taking it.  I feel that the above professionals would probably agree with me!

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