UK Heatwave: How hot does it have to be for schools to close? Temperature limit for schools as UK heats up this summer

ANOTHER summer heatwave has arrived in the UK as schools across the country count down the days until the summer holidays.

By Charlotte Hawes
Friday, 15th July 2022, 9:59 am

The Met Office has now extended its Amber Extreme heat warning as temperatures are set to soar later this week and early next week in the UK.

The Met Office said: ‘The Amber warning, which has been issued for Sunday (July 17) and Monday (July 18), highlights likely adverse health effects for the public, not just limited to those most vulnerable to extreme heat.

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Met Office extends its 'danger to life' Amber Extreme heat warning as temperatur...
The Met Office has extended its Amber Extreme heat warning in the UK - but can schools close if it is too hot?

‘Temperatures could be in excess of 35C in the southeast, and more widely around 32C within the warning area.

‘These high temperatures could extend further into next week and an extension of the warning will be considered in the coming days.’

With temperatures continuing to rise, many have been questioning how hot it needs to be before children can get the day off of school.

But how hot does it have to be in order for schools to close?

Here’s everything you need to know:

How hot does it need to be to cancel school in the UK?

Schools across the UK follow the same protocol as workplaces when it comes to extreme weather conditions, which means there is a minimum temperature but no maximum temperature to warrant closure.

The Health and Safety Executive says: ‘During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.’

This means that schools and employers have to provide ‘clean, fresh air’ — as well as keep temperatures at a comfortable level.

Measures can be taken, such as opening windows or doors, but hot temperatures do not necessarily mean a day off.

Some schools could introduce relaxations of uniform like removing blazers or ties to help battle the hot weather, but this will be up to the school and the rules will vary.

The National Union of Teachers have stated that special measures should be put in place to reduce temperatures in classrooms as soon as staff complain about feeling uncomfortable.

A report said: ‘If in doubt, 26C should be used as the trigger for these measures.

‘Other steps may also need to be 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.’

What happens if my child gets sent home due to the weather?

Parents in employment do not have a statutory right to be paid if they need to have an emergency day off with their children.

Some companies may choose to offer paid time off as a staff perk.

However, if schools are forced to close, parents are usually entitled to unpaid time off to look after the children.

How to stay cool during a heatwave

There are a number of ways to help you stay cool during a heatwave, including:

-Drinking plenty of water in order to stay hydrated

-Staying inside during the hottest hours of the day. This is usually between 11am and 4pm.

-Avoid exercising during the hottest parts of the day

-Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors

-If going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately

-Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen regularly and wear a wide-brimmed hat.