Over 70 schools given Grenfell cladding since fatal blaze in ‘major cause for concern’

More than 70 schools are likely to have been built using combustible insulation since it was banned on high-rise buildings following the Grenfell Tower fire.

Plastic insulation, which may have helped the flames spread at Grenfell, is also likely to have been used on 25 hospitals, care homes and sheltered housing, a study by non-combustible insulation firm Rockwool found.

Using flammable materials on buildings over 18m tall was banned following the 2017 blaze in West London, which claimed 72 lives, but a decision on extending the ban to lower buildings has yet to be made.

The first phase of an inquiry into the disaster found aluminium composite cladding was the primary cause of the fire’s spread, but added it was “more likely than not” that plastic insulation contributed.

Geoff Barton, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the figures estimated by Rockwool using industry data were a “major cause for concern”.

Ronnie King, a fire chief for 20 years and now an adviser to the all-party Parliamentary fire safety and rescue group, added: “You would have thought that the lesson of Grenfell was that you lessen the risk of children being injured or killed.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing said: “All materials must pass safety checks before they can be used and our Building Safety Bill will ensure stringent oversight.”