A MAXIMUM heat level for Scotland’s classrooms should be established to help pupils maintain concentration and cut down on the number of accidents.

Teaching union the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) is calling on the Scottish Government to outline an upper limit for temperature in class.

Hot and stuffy classrooms, the union says, can lead not only to a lack of concentration in pupils, but an increased risk of accidents.

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The EIS also pointed out that sometimes pupils are sent home when schools are too cold, and the dangers of too high a temperature should be similarly noted.

Currently, workplace regulations set out minimum acceptable temperatures – 16 degrees Celsius or 13 degrees where physical activity is taking place – but no maximum is delineated.

The EIS is lobbying for a limit, and has included this recommendation in its response to a government consultation on updating the school premises regulations.

Union general secretary Larry Flanagan said workplace regulations were too vague to be applied meaningfully in schools.

He added: “Too much heat can cause fatigue, tiredness and loss of concentration which can lead to increased accident risks and impaired learning experiences for children and young people.

“Current workplace regulations do not apply to non-employees and, therefore, can only be considered as guidance when considering health and safety concerns in schools.

School classrooms are not just accommodation, they are learning environments each requiring their own specific temperatures.”

He said the workplace regulations were “too vague” to be applied meaningfully.

Regulation 7 of the Workplace Regulations 1992 states that during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings should be “reasonable”.

The Health and Safety Executive, the responsible body for the regulations, has noted: “A meaningful maximum figure cannot be given due to the high temperatures found in, for example, glass works or foundries.”

Mr Flanagan added: “The Scottish Government should give serious consideration to the issue of maximum temperature in order to ensure appropriate learning conditions for pupils. The EIS would be happy to contribute to the consultation regarding what this temperature should be.

“Schools sometimes send pupils home when the school is too cold – but we also need to be aware of the potential risk of classrooms being too hot for pupils and teachers to work in safely.”

However, a spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said that workplace health and safety was a matter still reserved for the UK government.

She said: “We will consider submissions to the consultation on Updating the School Premises (General Requirements and Standards) (Scotland) Regulations and set out our response in due course.”

An HSE spokeswoman said: “The law on temperature in indoor workplaces places a legal obligation on employers to provide a ‘reasonable’ temperature in the workplace.

“Neither the regulations or the associated Approved Code of Practice (L24) specify a minimum or maximum temperature ... however, it remains the employer’s duty to determine, in consultation with the workforce, what is ‘reasonable comfort’ in particular circumstances.”