Asbestos is a building material used in the construction of many schools and nurseries which presents a serious health risk if inhaled.

Asbestos is a soft fibrous mineral. It has been used for over 150 years as a building material in the construction of commercial, industrial and public buildings including schools and nurseries.

Asbestos is a serious health risk if its fibres are inhaled. These fibres can remain in the lungs or settle in the lung linings and the chest cavity for long periods. This can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, which is an incurable cancer of the lining of the lungs and stomach, and other asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis or fibrosis, which is scarring of the lungs.

Learn more about Asbestos

Read our information sheet to learn more about asbestos and its risks to you and the children under your care in our information sheet.

This document covers: 

  • What is asbestos and what are the risks?
  • Where is asbestos likely to be present?
  • The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2006
  • Identifying the presence of asbestos
  • Assessing the potential risk from ACMs
  • Removing or managing asbestos
  • Inserting drawing pins into asbestos Insulation Board
  • Parliamentary Report 2012
  • Joint Union Asbestos Campaign (JUAC)
  • Compensation claims
  • Enforcement

Click here for information sheet


The Joint Union Asbestos Campaign (JUAC) is comprised of the six main education unions: 

  • the Association of School and College Leaders; 
  • the Association of Teachers and Lecturers; 
  • the National Association of Head Teachers; 
  • NASWUT; 
  • the National Education Union; and 
  • Voice Community; 

plus the education sections of UNISON, Unite, UCATT and the GMB.

JUAC has the objective of ensuring that the risks from asbestos in school buildings are effectively managed and it encourages openness in the UK government’s policy towards asbestos in schools, with the ultimate aim of seeking the safe removal of asbestos from all schools. 

Latest JUAC updates:   

Recent Asbestos News and Updates from JUAC / Voice Community

New JUAC analysis of asbestos in schools published to mark Action Mesothelioma Day (2 July 2021)

Unions launch website to lobby government to remove asbestos from educational buildings (Union News, 17 June 2021)
The JUAC unions have launched a new campaigning website to put pressure on the government to remove all asbestos from educational buildings.

Asbestos warning
HSE investigating supply to schools of metal gauze mats which contain asbestos.
Read more

Updates from Department for Education (DfE) (England)

14 October 2020:

Asbestos management during maintenance or building works Manual section

What to do if things go wrong Manual section

Responsibilities for managing asbestos Manual section

Legislative framework Manual section

Requirements for managing asbestos and who this guidance is for Manual section

Funding for asbestos works Manual section

Asbestos management in schools Manual

Day-to-day management of asbestos in schools or colleges Manual section

Asbestos and when it becomes a risk Manual section

Related organisations Manual section