New windows in school

(38 Posts)
Tigress2014 Tue 26-Aug-14 20:04:30

My 4 year old son is starting infant school in just over a week. When driving past last week I saw men up ladders crow-barring the windows out and replacing them with new ones - all of them, including big bays. The school is an old Victorian building and I am concerned that there may be many layers of old lead paint on the windows and that lead dust may spread throughout the school. Lead is very dangerous in particular to young children potentially leading to reduced IQ and behavioural problems. Lead dust is also very hard to remove - you need HEPA filters and wet wiping with detergent and I doubt any clean up will involve that. Also, what if there is asbestos or PCBs in the caulking around the windows?

Basically, would you be worried if you were sending your little boy there next week or am I over-reacting? What - if anything - would you do? I do get very anxious about things so just wanted to see what the common feeling was among other mums/dads out there.

Dancingqueen17 Tue 26-Aug-14 20:13:32

I'm afraid you do. Sound quite pfb. All work in state schools is carried out by approved tradesmen and there are strict regulations when dealing with potentialy dangerous materials so I would be confident that appropriate preventative steps were taken to protect the children from dust etc. that said, if you would feel happier knowing for sure I suggest you ask to speak to the site manager or contact the lea.

Hassled Tue 26-Aug-14 20:14:38

If you are anxious then give the school a call and speak to someone in the office, if they're around, or the Head - you could try emailing the Head maybe. But there are all sorts of risk assessments and protocols and procedures around any school maintenance works - any contractor should be well aware of the risks around lead paint. I'm sure they'll have it in hand.

Tigress2014 Tue 26-Aug-14 20:59:59

Pfb? Precious first born?! Yes, very likely!! However the men had definitely not covered anything in the rooms (I looked!!) and were doing it dry. I could see the dust as I watched on. If they were conscious of stuff like lead/asbestos wouldn't they have used plastic sheeting, masks, wet working so as to keep dust to a minimum? Surely dust no matter what's in it should be avoided in an infant school? Might contact la tomorrow to see what they know. Thanks for your opinions - actually made me feel a bit better!

BramwellBrown Tue 26-Aug-14 21:16:06

If they weren't wearing masks then they would have already checked for asbestos/lead paint, they wouldn't want to put their own health at risk either, it will just be general dust/plaster so as long as the cleaners are thorough i really wouldn't worry.

Galena Tue 26-Aug-14 21:20:59

Yep, schools are all surveyed and any asbestos is clearly signed. Any workers will also double check for hazardous materials. Do you honestly think anyone would want to put their health at risk, teacherd, workers, etc?

ladybirdandsnails Tue 26-Aug-14 23:28:25

Really do not worry about it. Asbestos is totally different issue from lead. The risk is negligible changing windows. Most old schools will replace windows including ours. It's often done in term time. Lead petrol fume used to be an issue but not now.. Unless you ingest lead frequently there is very little exposure

elvenbread Wed 27-Aug-14 07:46:37

OMG.

The building will have been surveyed probably more than once over the years as work has been don't to modernise the building in other ways. This will have shown any precautions that need to be in place.
I think you are massively over reacting sorry.

DoItTooJulia Wed 27-Aug-14 08:02:43

Ah, honey, I'm an anxious parent too.

I would speak to the school to check and put your mind at rest. Pp are right, they will have surveyed the area for asbestos and if there was asbestos there would be a really strict working protocol to ensure everyone's safety.

Ignore the unhelpful posters...elven I'm looking at you.....

titchy Wed 27-Aug-14 08:12:08

Why would you think there's be asbestos in a Victorian building?! Asbestos wasn't used till much later! Really chill, and I wouldn't contact the office tbh.......

ladybirdandsnails Wed 27-Aug-14 08:16:13

If there was asbestos in the building if would certainly not be in windows. The DofE web site has a section on asbestos in schools and managing it to ensure zero risk that schools and LAs have to follow. Honestly do not give it another thought.

Please do not contact the school. Your card will be marked forever!

Panicmode1 Wed 27-Aug-14 08:27:07

There won't be any asbestos. The paint will have been checked for lead. The school will be cleaned before the children arrive. There are pages of H&S for building work projects, let alone ones in schools!

Frankly I'd be thrilled a school had money to spend on infrastructure - most of them are so squeezed that the money all goes on wages etc whilst the fabric crumbles....!

Florin Wed 27-Aug-14 08:27:35

I have a close friend who is a building surveyor specialising in work in schools. The amount of red tape is massive. Everything has to be triple checked. It will be fine.

Acolyte Wed 27-Aug-14 08:27:52

I think you are over worrying. I'm sure school will be clean prior to term starting and any residual dust will be minimal.

Do your lad a favour and don't ring school

auntpetunia Wed 27-Aug-14 08:31:32

If it's a Victorian building it doesn't follow that the windows are original they will have been replaced many many times over the years. If you knew the hoops schools have to go through to get work done, the checks by the LA etc. you would know that there will be nothing dangerous in that job or the men would be wearing masks and suits. The cleaning staff will be working really hard with industrial cleaners this week to get it all ship shape and ready for the new term. Please don't phone anyone they will think your mad.

DoItTooJulia Wed 27-Aug-14 08:33:08

People are underestimating the school and office staff!

They are professionals! They will not mark your cards, how silly!

bigTillyMint Wed 27-Aug-14 08:37:33

Nearly all the schools in London are old Victorian ones with ancient windows which have been repainted, etc over the years. No children have ever been harmed in the process AFAIK!

The classrooms will be cleaned and ready when term starts. Ring them and check, but there will be many more pressing things to worry about once your PFB startswink

tabulahrasa Wed 27-Aug-14 08:45:35

If they found anything while doing work - they'd deal with it, when DS was in primary school they found asbestos during the holidays while doing work...they shut the school for 6 weeks after the holiday so that they could dispose of it properly.

They don't just carry on and leave dangerous substances where children will be.

auntpetunia Wed 27-Aug-14 09:11:53

They might be professionals dolt but believe me anyone ringing to ask about lead paint would be remembered.

elvenbread Wed 27-Aug-14 09:42:02

Give over Dolt. She is massively overreacting.

Clutterbugsmum Wed 27-Aug-14 09:47:25

The school should have already checked to make sure it is safe as they have to keep record of all danger area i.e where asbestos is with in the school.

Tigress2014 Wed 27-Aug-14 10:00:31

Asbestos (including blue asbestos the most dangerous type) was often used in caulking around windows and as te surveys are visual it is unlikely it would be picked up. And not all tradesmen are quite as concerned about hazards as we are - check out silverhill school in derby they replaced windows and continued despite finding asbestos used. The teachers swept up and the kids came back to the classroom for three weeks until someone saw the asbestos in a skip. Oops!! I know I am over-reacting and reading these posts helps put the risk into perspective but we renovated a couple of years ago not thinking about lead in paint and both my children had elevated blood lead levels which was quite traumatic so I am a bit scarred from that. I also think you should be able to ask questions and get answers about premises your children attend for 30 hours a week without having your card marked!! Although I imagine that is exactly what would happen...

DaisyFlowerChain Wed 27-Aug-14 10:09:08

You will be forever known as the neurotic mum if you phone and ask re lead poisoning.

Schools are very careful and the contractors will be approved. They will test before the work starts for asbestos and I very much doubt the teachers will be clearing up but it will be the contractors themselves or the caretaker/cleaner.

I think the early years teachers must have the hardest time given the amount of PFBs entering. I bet they could all tell some tales.

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