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By P Hunter
Three quarters of teachers said classrooms were too hot to work and learn properly in. They have renewed calls for improved regulations to limit classroom temperatures.
This has been in response to a recent consultation by the UK Department of Education (DofE) on proposed changes to school premises regulations, launched in early February 2012. The NASUWT, the largest teachers union in the UK, has called on the government to improve rules on both ventilation and temperature.
A temperature monitoring study was carried out last June and July across the UK. It revealed that more than three quarters of teachers experienced classroom temperatures in excess of 24C for more than a quarter of a period. Incredibly, a 1/3 experience temperatures exceeding 30C!
The world health organisation (WHO) believes any temperatures above 24C starts to affect productivity as well as concentration. It is no surprise teachers believe these higher temperatures have an adverse impact on teaching and learning.
Many schools have now installed 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 leaves many schools with very little money to install such measures. Listed below are some low budget measures which may cool classrooms without the need to invest in air conditioning equipment.
1. 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.
2. 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]
3. Keep the classroom doors open. Reduce the heat building up in the classroom by letting it out through the door.
4. Attach blinds onto the windows to provide shade to the classroom. Heat reflective blinds are particularly good at reflecting the suns rays back.List Style
5. 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.
6. Switch off computers, televisions or other heat generating devices that are not being used.
7. 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.
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.
About the Author: Peter Hunter from
Air Intelligence Ltd
25 years experience with
Air Conditioning Berkshire
. Read more about
cooling in classrooms
air conditioners on our website.