SCHOOLS are just about to break up for summer if they haven’t already, but that means there’s still a few more sweltering days to get through before the term is over.
The UK is currently experiencing a heatwave with temperatures of 33C and the Met Office has even issued its first ever extreme heat warning.
There is no maximum temperature in classrooms but special measures need to be undertakenCredit: Getty – Contributor
But classrooms may be unprepared to deal with the heat.
There’s not long to go before kids get six weeks off to enjoy paddling pools and sprinklers and trips to the beach.
But while temperatures are at their highest right now, we explain if it can warrant a day off school.
How hot does it have to be to cancel school in the UK?
Schools follow the same rules as workplaces, which means there is a minimum temperature but no maximum temperature.
The Health and Safety Executive says: “During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.”
This means employers and schools have to provide “clean, fresh air” — as well as keep temperatures at a comfortable level.
That means they could take measures like opening windows or doors, but it won’t necessarily warrant a day off.
So just because the school year is close to ending, you probably won’t get to start the summer holidays early because of the heat.
Some schools could introduce relaxations of uniform like removing ties or blazers to help battle the temperatures, but this will be up to your local school and will vary.
The National Union of Teachers said special measures should be put in place to reduce temperatures as soon as staff complain about feeling uncomfortable.
A report states: “If in doubt, 26C should be used as the trigger for these measures.
“Other steps may also need to considered such as closing classrooms which are unacceptably hot and teaching classes elsewhere, or even sending pupils home, provided reasonable notice has been given to parents.”
Parents should also make sure their kids are well equipped in a heatwave, with a hat and sunscreen if they are likely to be playing outdoors.
What can you do if your child is sent home if it’s too hot?
Employees do not have a statutory right to be paid in the event that they have an emergency day off with their children.
But if their school is shut down, the employee would be entitled to unpaid time off for dependants to look after the children.
During a heatwave in 2013, school teachers called for maximum legal temperatures to be set in classrooms over fears that it was too hot for the kids.
At the time, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union Chris Keates said heatwave temperatures make pupils lethargic, affect concentration and can lead to fainting.
The union called for a maximum classroom temperature of 30C – which would see kids sent home if thermometers rose above this level.
However, the law remained the same – and, as with term-time holidays, you could get into trouble for keeping your kids off school in the heatwave.
What should you do during a heatwave?
It is advised to drink a lot of water in order to stay hydrated during the hot spell.
Keeping a bottle of sunscreen with you to soak up those UV rays is also highly advisable as is ensuring you have a hat to prevent sunstroke.
Don’t head out during the hottest hours of the day either if you can avoid it – this is usually from around 11am to 4pm.
Trying to find shade or breezy spots during these times will be your best bet.
People are sharing their best “air con” hacks to keep cool in the heatwave and all you need is a bottle of water.
But you might have been using your fan all wrong and you could be making your room even hotter.
We also explain the parts of the body you should always apply sun cream to, but probably don’t usually.