Do children have to go to school if it’s too hot?

child drawing

With summer in full swing and a suspected heatwave on the way, the UK has been enjoying some much-needed sun the last few weeks. But while our children finish the last leg of the school term, should we be worried about this increase in temperature? And can we keep our children at home if it gets too hot?

According to the Mirror, there is no law against children going to school when it’s too hot. But, schools are responsible for a child’s health and safety during hot temperatures whether they’re in the classroom, on a trip or attending a music school club.

“Although it is generally accepted that people work best at a temperature between 16°C and 24°C, there are no specific legal maximum working temperatures for schools or for offices or other workplaces” states the National Union of Teachers in a health and safety briefing document.

But what precautions must be taken to ensure the health and safety of our children?

In short, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) offers ‘Statutory Provisions’ which deems that work places, including schools, should be proactive in providing the following:

  • Sufficient ventilation and opening windows where possible
  • Window blinds, electric fans or portable air cooling equipment should be provided where necessary
  • Schools should implement planned measures to reduce temperatures either as soon as staff complain of hot temperatures or if temperatures reach 26°C.

Other provisions which are advised include:

  • Installing water coolers
  • Moving desks away from windows
  • Developing shady areas outside
  • Reallocation to cooler classrooms
  • Relaxing the dress code
  • Starting and finishing school earlier if staff agree with the arrangement and parents have been notified.

So we may not have to pull our children out of school as soon as temperatures soar, but it’s worth ensuring your child is prepared and can recognise when the sun and hot weather is posing a danger to their health.

Making sure they know to drink water frequently, getting your private household staff to send them to school with sun cream on, and ensuring they tell a teacher if they feel unwell are just some of the ways we can make sure our children stay safe during the heat.

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