Cool it! EIS calls on Scottish government to introduce temperature cap in schools
The EIS has called on the Scottish government to establish a maximum acceptable temperature in Scotland’s schools.
Currently, workplace regulations exist regarding a minimum acceptable temperature (16 degrees Celsius, or 13 degrees where rigorous physical effort is taking place) but there is no equivalent for maximum temperature. The EIS is calling on the Scottish government to establish a maximum temperature in schools, in the interest of the health and wellbeing of pupils and staff. The union has included this recommendation in its response to a Scottish government consultation on Updating the School Premises (General Requirements and Standards) (Scotland) Regulations.
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. Unfortunately, current Workplace Regulations do not apply to non-employees and, therefore, can only be considered as guidance when considering health and safety concerns in schools. School classrooms are not just accommodation; they are learning environments each requiring their own specific temperatures. Essentially, the Workplace Regulations are too vague to be applied meaningfully in school settings.”
Currently, there is no national maximum temperature for any workplace. Regulation 7 of the Workplace Regulations 1992 merely states that during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be ‘reasonable’.
Larry Flanagan said: “The Scottish government should give serious consideration to the issue of maximum temperature in order to ensure appropriate learning conditions for pupils. The EIS would be happy to contribute to the consultation regarding what this maximum temperature should be. 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.”