Campaigners are calling for urgent district-wide checks on the management and removal of potentially-deadly asbestos in schools across Bradford.

Bradford Asbestos Victim Support Group (BAVSG) wants to see a comprehensive audit of schools to find out whether the cancer-causing material is being safely managed and is calling for the removal of the lethal material.

The support group has backed national plans to carry out independent tests for the material which campaigners claim is damaging thousands of children and teachers every year.

MPs, leaders of the teaching unions and families of teachers killed by asbestos-related diseases have arranged tests on 100 schools across the country.

Jane Howie, a development worker for BAVSG said: “There is evidence that often the standard of asbestos management, in schools all over the country, was not satisfactory and very dangerous. We are very concerned about the levels of asbestos the children of the Bradford district are being exposed to and we need to have a comprehensive audit of all the schools in Bradford.”

All six teaching unions have backed the need for more checks and the Bradford Area Safety Reps Association is planning to look at the management of asbestos in schools.

Earlier this year, the Telegraph & Argus revealed that 500 public buildings – including more than 200 schools – had been found to contain asbestos. The figures were released following a Freedom of Information request to Bradford Council. The Council has refused to tell the T&A which schools are affected, saying the cost of collating that information would be too high.

Campaigner Michael Lees, whose wife Gina died of asbestos-related cancer after teaching for 30 years, described the Council’s failure to make those details public as “unacceptable”.

Mr Lees, who is leading the national Asbestos in Schools campaign, added: “What we, the MPs and teaching unions are asking for is a comprehensive audit of asbestos in schools and effective management of asbestos.”

Nationally, fewer than a third of councils have responded to a Department of Children Schools and Families (DCSF) survey asking for details of asbestos left in schools, five months after the deadline. A spokesman for Bradford Council said the authority had not received the survey.

Roosje Barr, Bradford Council’s assistant director of facilities management, said the authority had introduced a management plan for asbestos which is monitored on a regular basis.

She said: “All schools have been issued with a copy of the premises asbestos register, specific to their buildings, produced by the Council’s Asbestos Management Unit, which enables whoever looks after the building to manage asbestos-containing materials.”

“Schools also receive advice from the Asbestos Management Unit and Health and Safety Executive guidance notes.”