School teachers have renewed calls for maximum legal temperatures in heatwave-hit classrooms as the heat continues. This is from the BBC…
Some teachers have been reporting temperatures topping 32C (90F) and very uncomfortable conditions in class.
And some schools have been dishing out ice lollies and renting air conditioners to help pupils keep cool.
General secretary of the NASUWT teaching union Chris Keates said such heat makes pupils lethargic, can affect concentration and lead to fainting.
Her union wants to see a statutory maximum temperature of 30C in school classrooms. This would mean staff and pupils being sent home if thermometers went above this.
She said excessive temperatures are a major problem for schools and that most are ill-equipped to cope with them.
She claimed teachers and pupils were sweltering in classrooms with inadequate ventilation and sometimes not even blinds at the windows which can be used to provide some limited shade.
Ms Keates said: “The impact of excessive temperatures on teaching and learning needs be given serious consideration.
“Pupils become extremely lethargic, unable to concentrate and, in some cases, faint.
“Lessons are disrupted by constant requests for time out to get drinks of water or to go outside and many tasks take far longer to perform. Teachers report that the quality of work undoubtedly suffers at such times.”
Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, is also calling for statutory maximum temperatures to come into force.
She said: “Clearly, very high temperatures can affect the ability of teachers and pupils to concentrate and to work effectively, and can cause physical discomfort and illness.
“The NUT will continue to campaign to ensure that 26C is the absolute maximum temperature in which teachers should be expected to work.”
One teacher told the NASUWT: “I teach in a classroom with no ventilation, no windows and just two doors which open into other closed areas. When the weather is above 24-25C, and more especially if the humidity remains high, the room is too uncomfortable in which to work.
“Any significant movement results in sweating, it becomes difficult to concentrate and there is a complete loss of enthusiasm to do anything beyond basic childminding.”
Meanwhile head teachers have been trying their best to help both staff and children keep cool in schools up and down the country which have not yet broken up for the summer holidays.
Some have taken the precaution of cancelling or rearranging their sports days, while others have been encouraging children to stay in the shade at break times.
Parents are being reminded by text message and email to send their children to school in sun hats and to put on sun cream before they leave home.
If you’ve been in the classroom this week, how bad has it been and what measures has your school introduced to help everyone keep their cool? Do you think there should be a maximum (article seems confused whether this should be 26C or 30C) and how practical is the idea of sending children home if this level is reached? Let us know in the comments or via twitter…