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AIBU: Heatwave & keeping my child off school

68 replies

Busybee1234 · 19/06/2017 14:46

I'm a teacher currently on leave and I also have a child in Reception (not at my school). DC's classroom is in the middle of a tarmac playground in a portakabin that has no blinds. Recently when it has been hot they kept the children inside as it was deemed too hot for them to play on the playground. Not allowing them on the tarmac is fair enough but the school has large fields and woodland surrounding it with plenty of shade. We received a message earlier to inform us that most of the classrooms were already hitting 30 degrees this morning. As the rest of the school is not housed in a portakabin I imagine that the Reception classrooms might have been even hotter. I don't understand why they don't just move the Reception activities (or the older years too for that matter) outside into a shaded area when it is so hot, especially at this time of year when they're winding down anyway. The Receptions are little, it is sweltering in their classroom and surely it is not very conductive to learning or their health to stay in such a hot environment all day? On the rare occasion that I taught in an unsuitable classroom during a heatwave I moved the children's learning outside into shade for the day. It took about 5 minutes to move tables and resources to a different location with the help of the children.

I decided to keep DC at home today with DC's younger siblings and we went to a local lido first thing after which we spent the rest of the day at home in the garden next to the paddling pool doing reading, writing, counting etc through play.

Of course I feel guilty about keeping DC off school when DC is not poorly but AIBU thinking that the school should be more creative in how they approach teaching when it is so hot? And AIBU to keep my child off because in my opinion they don't look after the children properly by keeping them in a sweltering portakabin during a heatwave?

OP posts:

PotteringAlong · 19/06/2017 14:47

You have no idea they were going to do that, you've just guessed. Yes, yabu to keep them off because it's hot.


Busybee1234 · 19/06/2017 14:48

We've had 2 very hot days so far. On both occasions they were kept inside.

OP posts:

OwlinaTree · 19/06/2017 14:50

Have you asked them how they were planning to deal with the heat and if they were planning to relocate? I agree with you that the classroom sounds unsuitable but I'm sure they are trying their best to keep the children safe. Maybe they are concerned about sunburn?


flumpybear · 19/06/2017 14:50

I wouldn't be happy about kids kept in under those circumstances - it's too hot for them

In our old portacabin when I was at school we used to leave all the windows and doors open for through breezes


PotteringAlong · 19/06/2017 14:50

Were they ill at the end of the day on those two days? If not then you know that they will be fine even if they keep them in! I'm assuming they were not ill else you'd have kept them off after the first hot day.


OwlinaTree · 19/06/2017 14:51

Problem is you can only work with what you've got in a school.


Qvar · 19/06/2017 14:57

Yanbu, we seem to have an unspoken policy of ignoring the weather in this country and it's not something we should put a 5 year old through. Both mine are asthmatic and full of hay fever so they're both off today


HorridHenryrule · 19/06/2017 14:59

Do you think they have shut all the doors and windows and kept the fans off. I feel no better outside than I do inside its so hot regardless of where you are.


Busybee1234 · 19/06/2017 15:22

OwlinaTree I feel uncomfortable asking them how they plan to deal with the heat as they know I'm a teacher and I don't want to sound patronising. I was very disappointed to learn that they were kept inside on the previous occasions as I assumed that they would think outside the box and move them under the trees / put water out for measuring activities etc.

HorridHenryrule, it is definitely cooler in the shade of a tree than inside a portakabin.

PotteringAlong I prefer not to wait until mine gets ill before I draw the line.

Maybe I'm being too precious about it but I agree that Qvar that although we as adults tend to feel that we must soldier along despite the weather I don't think that it is reasonable to expect a 4 / 5 year old to do the same.

Thank you for the replies, it is interesting to hear everyone's opinions.

OP posts:

clearwaters · 19/06/2017 15:24

I think you were being unreasonable to be honest.


DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen · 19/06/2017 15:27

I have really nice memories of lessons under the trees Smile


Urubu · 19/06/2017 15:31

we seem to have an unspoken policy of ignoring the weather in this country
True, I am from another country and was surprised by this.
OP, the only thing YAB about is not asking the school what they plan on doing. If they tell you they won't be doing anything and you know the classroom will be 30+ then YANBU to keep your DC home.
I couldn't work if my office was this warm.


Babbitywabbit · 19/06/2017 15:34

It doesn't sound ideal, but the teachers have to work within the limitations of their buildings.... tbf if they switch some fans on and maybe improvise some blinds on the side where the sun is (old sheets maybe?) then it will be a hell of a lot more comfy inside than out in heat like this.

It also seems a bit odd to not feel comfortable to ask what their plans were when presumably you are now going to have to explain your dc absence. I would have thought a reasonably worded email just checking that they've got fans is entirely sensible, rather than keeping the kids at home


whatsleep · 19/06/2017 15:35

Just home from my day at school (LSA) and it was not the best if days! Muggy and sweaty, kids all pretty lethargic from the heat. Outside learning as much as possible. We just don't get many days when it's this warm but I think your right, the school needs to make a better plan of how they will manage when it's this warm. I expect the teacher is not too impressed with being cooped up in mobile classroom with 30+ irritable children! If I were you I think I would have done the same, don't think many kids will have reached their full potential in class today!


BlackeyedSusan · 19/06/2017 15:46

oh god I remember teaching in a portacabin for just one day. it was hell.

things used tobe more flexible in schools.


BlackeyedSusan · 19/06/2017 15:48

I remember our union sending out info on what temperatures the work place had to be... sure there was an upper limit.


clarrylove · 19/06/2017 15:55

Would you have sent your child in if you weren't on leave? Sounds like you fancied a day off with your child.

Don't Reception kids have free-flow anyway?


Wolfiefan · 19/06/2017 15:59

You feel uncomfortable asking the school how they plan to deal with the heat? But you're happy to keep your child off school for no reason than it is hot out?!
Plan your coping mechanisms now. My eldest starts GCSE next year. I can't keep him off every time it gets warm. Talk to the school. What are they doing? Talk to the PTA. Can you fundraise to help the school? What would actually help?
Freeze drinks.
Cool water spray? Fan?
Sun cream.


mimbleandlittlemy · 19/06/2017 15:59

There is no upper limit on a workplace environment in this country - only a lower limit.

One reason for there being no upper limit is the Tube in London would have to legally grind to a halt whenever the outside temperature got above about 22 which usually equals about 35 in the various rings of hell such as the Piccadilly Line.


Giddyaunt18 · 19/06/2017 16:01

We have a very hot glass walled classroom and we moved into cooler areas today, one lesson taught under a tree. Adults don't want to work in unbearable conditions either so will seek shade/cool. I would have thought, as a teacher yourself, you would have known that.


Giddyaunt18 · 19/06/2017 16:02

Have to say the year 1/2 children coped brilliantly, they take it in their stride. It's the parents that get neurotic.


clearwaters · 19/06/2017 16:03

I do think on the whole schools break up ridiculously late in this country.


The world goes on.


WorraLiberty · 19/06/2017 16:04

Are you going to keep them off all week OP?

This heatwave is not supposed to let up for a while.

Also, would you have kept your child off if you had been working today?


mimbleandlittlemy · 19/06/2017 16:06

Having said that about upper limits - I do now recall there is a limit for schools though nowhere else, so I'll get back in my (very hot) box.


MoominFlaps · 19/06/2017 16:07

It's hotter outside than inside today, I won't be taking my toddler out - it's too hot for him.

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