OPINION - The Standard View: Ministers need to get an urgent grip on school building closures

 (Christian Adams)
(Christian Adams)

There is leaving work on Friday afternoon to your future Monday morning self, and then there is the Department for Education. Days before students are set to return to classrooms, it has been half-announced that more than 100 schools and colleges must partially or fully close buildings over fears they could suddenly collapse.

The Government has taken something of a relaxed approach, refusing to reveal the 104 facilities that have been told to shut buildings, while Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has suggested most parents “should not be worried about this at all.” This seems misguided.

Parents will understandably be concerned, not only for their children’s safety but also for a potential return to remote learning. It scarcely needs saying, but any issues with buildings ought to be identified and swiftly addressed at the start of the summer break, not the end.

Ministers need to urgently inform parents of affected schools, provide funds for works and cover the cost of emergency temporary accommodation.

London feels rail pain

Summer is nearly over and strikes are back. The reality is they never really went away. Rail passengers today face fresh travel chaos following a walkout by drivers as part of a long-running dispute over pay.

It is yet another kick in the teeth for commuters returning from holidays. For the Government, it serves as a reminder that, despite falling inflation, pay demands still have the power to wreak havoc.

Britain cannot get moving again if the next few months are punctuated by strikes across the public sector, from the NHS to the railways. Unions exist to drive the hardest bargain for the members. The Government in turn must protect the public purse. As ever, it is ordinary Londoners caught in a pincer movement between the two.

Hounds seize the day

Whispering during the emotional denouement, chomping on popcorn as the twist is revealed and flashing phones during a car chase. There is plenty of bad cinema etiquette but dogs are guilty of none of them.

So a pat on the head to Curzon Cinemas for introducing select dog-friendly movie screenings (owners must attend), beginning with Strays, a comedy that tracks a group of hounds looking to exact revenge on an owner.

But with scenes of violence and bloody detail, any showing of Reservoir Dogs must still enforce a strict 2.6 (in dog years) age classification.