Minimum classroom temperature: is there one?

Overview

Is there a minimum classroom temperature at your school? You might be teaching in a classroom which gets too cold during the winter time. You could also be concerned about your own and pupils’ health and safety, impact on learning and potential complaints from parents. 

In this article, we outline how minimum classroom temperatures differ between England and Wales, look at health and safety advice and how you could raise the issue of your classroom being too cold with your school.

The School Premises (England) Regulations 2012 (which applies to maintained schools) do not specify minimum classroom temperatures for any parts of a school. Similarly, the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 (which applies to academies) does not specify a minimum classroom temperature.

Prior to 2012, legal requirements for minimum temperature in maintained schools were set out in the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999. These no longer apply, however it specified that classroom temperature should be at least 18 degrees.

Essentially, the Department for Education (DfE) does not specify minimum temperatures for classrooms in England.

However, your school has a duty of care for your health and safety so you should be able to discuss with your line manager if you are concerned about the temperature in your classroom.

Employers have a duty of care for their staff

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 requires employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their staff and others. 

ACAS also explains that employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means that they should take all steps which are reasonably possible to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing.

It should also be noted the Health and Safety Executive says that although the law does not state a minimum or maximum temperature, the temperature in workrooms should normally be at least:

  • 16 degrees
  • 13 degrees if much of the work involves rigorous physical effort

How to raise a concern with your school

If you are concerned about your classroom being too cold you will be able to raise the issue with your line manager or headteacher.

You will be able to do this informally in the first instance and then potentially raise a grievance with your school if the issue persists and is having a significant impact on your health and safety.

We have published another article which outlines the process of how to raise a grievance with your school. You can also contact us for further advice and support on this issue.

Different rules apply in Wales for minimum classroom temperatures

In Wales, maintained schools must abide by the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999. Therefore, temperatures in school classrooms should be at least 18 degrees.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
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