How hot does it have to be for schools to close in the UK?

13 July 2022, 15:57

Some schools may make the decision to close amid the heatwave if they think staff and students are at risk
Some schools may make the decision to close amid the heatwave if they think staff and students are at risk. Picture: Getty
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

As parts of the UK continue to swelter in the rising temperatures, we're asking how hot it has to get for children to be sent home from school.

With many parts of Britain on the brink of a national heatwave emergency, people could be warned of 'potential serious illness or danger to life' in the next few days.

Temperatures have been soaring, with Met Office forecaster Simon Partridge saying that some areas in the south-east of England could exceed 35 degrees on Sunday.

He added that we are currently looking at a 30 per cent chance of Britain recording its hottest day ever amid the July heatwave.

Currently, the hottest day on record occurred back in 2019 when a temperature of 38.7 degrees was recorded in Cambridge.

There is not a specific temperature in the guidelines which means schools must close
There is not a specific temperature in the guidelines which means schools must close. Picture: Getty

How hot does it have to be for schools to close in the UK?

According to law, there is no specific temperature that will force schools to close.

The rules around temperatures in schools are the same as those in the workplace, where there is also not a specific number.

According to the Government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there is a responsibility from the employer to ensure conditions are "reasonable" in a workplace for their staff.

The guidance reads: “In offices or similar environments, the temperature in workplaces must be reasonable. There’s no law for maximum working temperature, or when it’s too hot to work.”

They add that the employer must “keep the temperature at a comfortable level, sometimes known as thermal comfort” and “provide clean and fresh air”.

When temperatures soar across the UK, many schools will put measures in place to make staff and students more comfortable.

For example, this could be a change to the school uniform that means students can wear shorts, or remove blazers and ties.

There is a chance schools can close during a heatwave if the Headteacher decides that their staff and students are at risk.

Have schools in the UK ever closed due to hot weather?

Yes, schools have been known to close amid extremely high temperatures.

Back in 2006, some schools across the UK sent pupils home as temperatures reached 36 degrees.

For specific information about your children's school you should contact them directly for details of their response to the heatwave.