The arson bill for schools in the UK is expected to reach £85m for the year 2000.

On average, three schools are hit by arsonists every day. Keith Bolton, director of Aon's public sector consulting group, is calling for local education authorities to take responsibility for risk management, to avoid paying higher premiums.

“Schools should invest in perimeter fences, alarm systems and closed-circuit television,” he said.

He is to address the annual conference of Alarm, the national forum for risk management in the public sector, at the University of Warwick on April 9 to 10, on the problem.