Three quarters of school teachers said classrooms were too hot to work and learn properly in. They have renewed calls for improved government regulations to limit classroom temperatures.

This has been in response to a consultation by the Department of Education on proposed changes to school premises regulations, launched in February 2012. The NASUWT, the largest teaching union in the UK, has called on the government to strengthen rules on both temperature and ventilation.

A temperature monitoring campaign was carried out last June/July across the UK. It revealed that more than three quarters of teachers experienced classroom temperatures in excess of 24°C for more than a quarter of a period. Incredibly, a third experience temperatures exceeding 30°C!

The world health organisation believes any temperatures above 24°C starts to affect productivity and concentration. It is no surprise teachers believe these higher temperatures have an adverse impact on teaching and learning.

Many schools have opted to install air conditioning to cool overheating classrooms and it is considered the best long term solution. But although the cost of this is often not as high as many Headteachers imagine, increased spending cuts have left many schools with very little budget to install such measures. Listed below are some low cost measures which may cool classrooms without the need to invest in air conditioning equipment.

[ul style=”12″] [li]Check to see if any heating appliances are switched on in the classroom. A radiator might have been left on and be heating the room without you knowing. [/li] [li]Minimise activities that involve movement during the warmest parts of the day, as this creates heat that will build up in the classroom space. For example, if the sun enters the room during the afternoon then do art projects in the morning before the sun enters the room.[/li] [li]Keep the classroom doors open. Reduce the heat building up in the classroom by letting it out through the door. [/li] [li]Position four electric upright fans around the perimeter of the classroom and point them towards the centre of the room. Set the movement of the fan’s head to oscillating so it rotates from left to right, to cool a larger area of the classroom. [/li] [li]Switch off computers, televisions or other heat generating devices that are not being used.[/li] [li]Attach blinds onto the windows to provide shade to the classroom. Heat reflective blinds are particularly good at reflecting the sun’s rays back. [/li] [li] Create areas of shade in the classroom. Do this by putting large potted plants around the classroom. This will cool these specific areas for added comfort. [/li] [/ul]

If you have any other clever ideas to help reduce over heating classrooms please let us know. Air conditioning can be cheaper than many think, but it does involve cost and possibly disruption to classes and classrooms, and often needs to be installed during school holidays or at weekends. The approximate cost for most classrooms is around £4000 to £6000 depending on orientation and number of pupils.