Arson in Schools 


Arson attacks on schools endanger lives, disrupt and distress staff, pupils and parents, and takes up emergency services resources. School fires cost over £80million in insured damages each year.

Around 90,000 pupils are estimated to have their education disrupted in some way by school arson each year. Destroyed coursework and teaching aids, loss of classrooms or other facilities, transfer to a different class or school temporarily, or destruction of property all take their toll.

The loss of coursework, especially in the weeks preceding exams, can cause considerable mental stress in children, potentially resulting in reduced exam performance and stress-related disorders such as depression (high rates of which already exist among teenagers). Younger children can lose their sense of safety in school buildings following a fire.

The Arson Reduction Officers in partnership with Bedfordshire Police Crime Reduction Officers are working on a programme that will give every school in the county a free School Crime and Arson Reduction Evaluation (SCARE) that will provide the school with a report that identifies actions they could take to reduce the opportunities for crime and arson to occur on the school site. Over 100 evaluations have been completed in the last two years. If any school would like a free SCARE please email the Arson Reduction Officers at their team email address of

Further advice on actions schools can take to reduce the opportunities for crime and arson to occur on their sites is given in the pages as below:

Reduce the opportunity for an offender to start a fire .PDF 22KB

Measures to mitigate the spread of fire .PDF 16KB

Deter unauthorised entry onto the site .PDF 40KB

The Chief Fire Officers Association website ‘Stop Arson UK’ gives some practical advice for schools as to how to reduce the risk of being subject to an arson attack.

Safety.Fire Safety