Students will learn better if a maximum permissible temperature is introduced in schools, a teaching union has claimed. It also believes that this would make schools safer and improve the health of staff and students.
The EIS teaching union, Scotland’s largest, said that workplace regulations already set a minimum threshold of 16°C – or 13°C “where rigorous physical effort is taking place” – but that there is no equivalent for maximum temperature.
It is calling for a maximum temperature in response to a Scottish government consultation on updating regulations for school premises.
EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “Too much heat can cause fatigue, tiredness and loss of concentration, which can lead to increased accident risks and impaired learning experiences for children and young people.”
Current workplace regulations are “too vague to be applied meaningfully in school settings”, he added, stating only that the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings should be “reasonable”.
Mr Flanagan said: “Schools sometimes send pupils home when the school is too cold – but we also need to be aware of the potential risk of classrooms being too hot for pupils and teachers to work in safely.”
University of Salford research has suggested that the classroom environment can affect a child's academic progress by as much as 25 per cent a year.