ALTHOUGH the dangers of asbestos are now well-known, new figures have revealed that the vast majority of schools in North Devon contain the deadly substance.
Figures released to the Journal show that out of the 264 schools overseen by Devon County Council, asbestos has been detected in 219 of them.
In North Devon a total of 38 schools are known to contain asbestos, while in Torridge it is 25. A full breakdown can be found below.
The Journal requested the figures under the Freedom of Information Act after reporting on the tragic case of 33-year-old Kirsty List, who believes she contracted mesothelioma as a result of her time at Holsworthy Community College.
Speaking to the Journal back in July, Helen Grady, from Simpson Millar LLP, which is providing legal advise to Kirsty, said: "The most tragic aspect of this case is Kirsty's young age; it's so young to be diagnosed with mesothelioma, a condition that normally affects older people – this is due to asbestos lying dormant in an individual's system for 20 to 30 years before causing cancer."
It is believed 86% of schools in the UK have asbestos in them, with more than seven million pupils being taught in these buildings.
Although while left dormant the material poses no risk, once disturbed its particles can lead to the fatal form of cancer.
More than 224 school teachers in England have died of mesothelioma between 2003 and 2012, and a further 22 died last year alone.
In addition, it is reported that between 200 and 300 people die each year from exposure to asbestos as school children.
In a statement to the Journal following its report on Mrs List's case, a spokesman for Devon County Council said: "We take great care to manage asbestos in our buildings.
"All our schools have been surveyed for asbestos and are inspected regularly. They each hold individual asbestos registers identifying where asbestos is located, its condition and our safety policies, along with their own asbestos management plans.
"There are also a range of controls in place to prevent unintended exposures, including a requirement to share asbestos information, mandatory training for staff and clear policies and procedures for managing building works and notifying contractors."
A petition has been launched calling for the removal of asbestos from all school by 2028. To voice your support, visit: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/protect-our-children-and-teachers-from-asbestos-exposure-in-schools
North Devon schools
- Bishops Nympton Primary School
- Bishops Tawton Primary School
- Bratton Fleming Community Primary School
- Caen Community Primary School
- Chittlehampton Church Of England Primary School
- Combe Martin Primary School
- East Anstey Primary School
- Filleigh Community Primary School
- Forches Cross Community Primary School
- Fremington Community Primary & Nursery School
- Horwood And Newton Tracey Community Primary School
- Ilfracombe Infant And Nursery School
- Instow Community Primary School
- Kentisbury Primary School
- Kings Nympton Community Primary School
- Lynton Church Of England Primary School
- Marwood School
- Pathfield School
- Pilton Infants School
- Rackenford Church Of England Primary School
- Shirwell Community Primary School
- South Molton Community College
- South Molton United Church Of England Junior School
- Southmead School
- Sticklepath Community School
- Swimbridge Church Of England Primary School
- The Lampard School
- The Park School
- West Down School
- Woolacombe School
- Yeo Valley Primary School
- Appledore Community Primary School
- Black Torrington Church Of England Primary School
- Bradford Primary School
- Bridgerule Church Of England Primary School
- Buckland Brewer Community Primary School
- Clawton Primary School
- Dolton Church Of England Primary School
- East-The-Water Community Primary School
- Former Sutcombe Community Primary School
- Great Torrington Bluecoats C Of E Primary School
- Hartland Primary School
- High Bickington Church Of England Primary School
- Holsworthy Community College
- Langtree Community School
- Marland School
- Monkleigh Primary School
- Northam St Georges C Of E Va Infant & Nursery School
- Parkham Primary School
- Shebbear Community School
- St Giles On The Heath Community School
- St Margarets Church Of England Junior School
- St Marys Church Of England Primary School
- The Clinton Church Of England Primary School - Merton
- Westcroft School
- Winkleigh Primary School