London heatwave: Schools are ‘not being told to close’, says Government

·2-min read
People walk across Westminster Bridge in London amid the heatwave (Dominic Lipinski/ PA) (PA Wire)
People walk across Westminster Bridge in London amid the heatwave (Dominic Lipinski/ PA) (PA Wire)

Ministers are not advising schools to close next week amid soaring temperatures across the country, the Government has said.

Next week could see temperatures reach as high as 41C in London as the heatwave continues to spread across the UK, with the Met Office issuing a red extreme weather warning.

Source: Met Office (PA Graphics)
Source: Met Office (PA Graphics)

Downing Street is treating it as a national emergency, with meetings continuing over the weekend to monitor the situation and discuss the response.

Despite the Met Office warning, the Government has confirmed its stance has not changed and schools should not close due to the weather.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “There is clear Government guidance available online to help school staff look after children in the hot weather, including the use of ventilation, keeping children hydrated, and avoiding vigorous physical activity for pupils.

“Individual school leaders are responsible for managing their own local circumstances, but we are not advising schools to close.”

The Department for Health and Social Care has also provided guidance for schools and early years settings during the hot weather.

Source: UK Health Security Agency (PA Graphics)
Source: UK Health Security Agency (PA Graphics)

Schools are advised to rearrange school start, finish, and play times to avoid teaching during days of very hot conditions.

Classes are also advised to be well ventilated, and children are encouraged to drink plenty of water.

Schools are also being advised not to allow outdoor physical activity on days where temperatures exceed 30 degrees.

UK Health Security Agency’s head of extreme events, Dr Agostinho Sousa said: “Heat-health alerts have now been issued to the majority of the country, with temperatures set to remain consistently high throughout the duration of the weekend and the start of next week.

“It is important to keep yourself hydrated and to find shade where possible when UV rays are strongest, between 11am and 3pm.

“If you have vulnerable family, friends and neighbours, make sure they are aware of how they can keep themselves protected from the warm weather.’’