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Heatwave Advice

Guidance for those looking after schoolchildren and those in early years settings during heatwaves.

Heatwave plan for England – protecting health and reducing harm from severe heat and heatwaves.

Further information is available in the PHE leaflet: Looking after children and those in early years settings during heatwaves: guidance for teachers and professionals.


• on very hot days (i.e. where temperatures are in excess of 30°C) children should not take part in vigorous physical activity

• children playing outdoors should be encouraged to stay in the shade as much as possible
• loose, light-coloured clothing should be worn to help children keep cool and hats of a closed construction with wide brims should be worn to avoid sunburn
• thin clothing or suncream should be used to protect skin if children are playing or taking lessons outdoors for more than 20 minutes
• children must be provided with plenty of cool water *and encouraged to drink more than usual when conditions are hot *the temperature of water supplied from the cold tap is adequate for this purpose


• windows and other ventilation openings should be opened during the cool of early morning or preferably overnight to allow stored heat to escape from the building – it is important to check insurance conditions and the need for security if windows are to be left open overnight
• windows and other ventilation openings should not be closed, but their openings reduced when the outdoor air becomes warmer than the air indoors – this should help keep rooms cool whilst allowing adequate ventilation
• use outdoor sun awnings if available, or indoor blinds, but do not let solar shading devices block ventilation openings or windows
• keep the use of electric lighting to a minimum during heatwaves
• all electrical equipment, including computers, monitors and printers should be switched off when not in use and should not be left in ‘standby mode’ – electrical equipment, when left on, or in ‘standby’ mode generates heat

Which children are likely to be most affected by high temperatures?

Children’s susceptibility to high temperatures varies; those who are overweight or who are taking medication may be at increased risk of adverse effects. Children under four years of age are also at increased risk.

Children with SEND

Some children with disabilities or complex health needs may be more susceptible to
temperature extremes. The school nurse, community health practitioner, family health visitor or the child’s specialist health professional may be able to advise on the particular needs of the individual child. Schools need to provide for children’s individual needs. Support staff should be made aware of the risks and how to manage them.

Last Updated 14/06/2021

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