Recent years have shown that increasing extremes of weather are becoming more and more common. Sadly, climate change experts tell us that this is the shape of things to come – the climate crisis is going to lead to more frequent episodes of extreme heat – and schools and colleges need to be ready to deal with these on a more frequent basis than before.
This protocol aims to help employers to work together with union reps to prepare for future heatwaves, so that learning is disrupted as little as possible and the health, safety and welfare of staff and pupils are protected. Such joint work also offers the opportunity to discuss adaptations to buildings that will save money on energy bills as well as ensuring comfortable working and learning conditions.
It takes account of guidance from DfE, Acas and UKHSA suggesting good practice for the short and longer term to help schools and colleges fulfil their responsibilities under health and safety legislation and in response to the climate crisis. DfE Emergency planning and response for education, childcare, and children's social care setting includes ‘extreme heat’ as one of the potential emergency scenarios that need to be planned for.
The following are short-term actions which schools and colleges should consider. They may not be appropriate in all circumstances, but can act as a useful guide for considering what could be done in response to extreme weather events.