UK weather: Heatwave warning to parents amid school guidance over sending children home



Parents have been urged to remain vigilant for signs of heatstroke as National Union of Teachers (NUT) issued guidance to schools to keep children safe amid the blistering heatwave.

It comes as the Met Office extended it’s ‘risk to life’ warning for a further 24 hours ahead of what forecasters predict could be the hottest day ever recorded in the UK this weekend.

There is a 30% chance that Sunday will be the hottest day ever recorded in the UK.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion in children

Some parents are understandably concerned for the welfare of their children as the extreme temperatures look set to be in place well into next week.

In guidance shared on social media, Sheffield children’s NHS foundations urged carers and teachers to ensure children a drinking water “little and often”.

They also shared advice on what to do if a child is overheating.

The trust said: “The first sign that a child is overheating is when they become grumpy or complain of a headache.

“If this happens, get them into a shaded place that is as cool as possible. Remove any clothing you can, give them water to drink and get them to rest.”

Can schools send children home?

Schools follow the same regulations as workplaces. Under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, Employers have alegal obligation to ensure that the temperature in the workplace is “reasonable”.

Despite the guidance under law, the government has not specified a specific temperature in the workplace which would mean employees, or in this case, students, are sent home.

Ultimately it is up to the employer or school to decide whether the temperature in the workplace is suitable for workers or students.

NUT guidance for schools in a heatwave

As heatwaves become more common in the UK the NUT expects schools to have plans in place for such temperatures.

The NUT safety briefing states: “Other steps may also need to 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.

“If in doubt, 26°C should be used as the trigger for these measures.

The NUT also suggests dress codes are relaxed, for example, the removal of blazers and allowing students to wear shorts/skirts rather than trousers.  





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