Britain is set to have a scorcher of a summer. The temperatures are expected to soar, and the UK is predicted to enjoy the hottest summer ever, key statistics have revealed.

According to The Met Office, 2018 was the joint hottest summer on record with 2006, 2003 and 1976.

However, Britons are being warned to brace themselves for another heat wave, and this brings about some problems for educational establishments in the run-up to and after the summer break.

And that’s because hot weather brings about heated debates (excuse the pun) over classroom temperatures.

At what temperature should a teacher be expected to work in and at what temperature environment should a student be expected to learn in before it becomes dangerous or unproductive?

Why is the classroom temperature so crucial?

Very high temperatures affect the ability of teachers and pupils to concentrate and to work effectively.

It can cause physical discomfort, dizziness, fainting, and if a body’s blood temperature rises above 39°C, there is a risk of heat stroke or collapse. Anything over this can cause delirium or confusion.

Even if nothing fatal occurred, it would still affect a person’s concentration level and increase their tiredness.

Children, particularly very young ones, are the most likely to suffer in extreme heat but would not necessarily know how to protect themselves.

Moreover, even low temperatures can cause difficulties, which is why the NUT specify that school classrooms should be at least 18°C.

The happy medium of 16°C and 24°C

It’s generally accepted that people work best at a temperature between 16°C and 24°C.

The graph below is from research by Helsinki University of Technology and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The full report can be read here. As you can see from the scientific study, indoor temperature significantly impacts on productivity.

                                         Productivity vs temperature

There is actually no legal temperature limit for workplaces or schools however, there is some legality that’s important to clarify:

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires employers to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their staff and others present in the workplace (like students), thereby providing a need to seek to protect against excessive working temperatures.
  • Regulation 7 of the Workplace (Health, Safety, and Welfare) Regulations 1992 requires employers to ensure that temperatures in workplaces should be 'reasonable' although it does not specify a maximum reasonable temperature. Put simply, all reasonable steps are to be taken to achieve a reasonably comfortable temperature.

But this is very much a grey area; as what is a ‘reasonable’ temperature?

NUT policy is that 26°C should be the absolute maximum temperature in which teachers should be expected to work.

But it’s still fairly wooly as in areas where there are lower than normal level of activity for example sick rooms or higher than normal level of activity like gymnasium or washroom, the appropriate minimum temperatures are 21oC and 15oC respectively.

So how do we help?

“Lustalux's friendly, responsive service meant we had a safe and cost-effective solution in place within a matter of days of the initial phone call - outstanding service.”
KG - Meadowside School, Wirral

We’ve worked with colleges, schools, universities, and academies across the UK and one of the main things we’re brought in to help with is installing window film.

Not only can it help with solar heat gain and energy saving on warm days, but it can also minimise glare issues on computer screens, whiteboards and TX screens caused by the sun.

Here are some stats on how beneficial it can be:

  • Up to 80% Heat Gain Reduction
  • Up to 90% Glare Reduction
  • Improved Whiteboard Visibility
  • Increased Visual Security
  • Tamper Proof Installations With Sealed Edges

But wouldn’t Air Con just work instead?

We actually welcome situations where air conditioning is present as we can prove that cooling costs will be significantly reduced when air-con is combined with solar control window film.

If you’re worried about your educational establishment and how your teachers and students will survive the hot summer months, please give our team a call today on 01772 726622 or email sales@lustalux.co.uk.

Now is the perfect time to get a quote or free site survey before you finish for the 6 week summer holidays!