Temperature in the classroom - health and safety for teachers and students

New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) guidance on minimum and maximum classroom temperatures for the health and safety of teachers and students.

Minimum temperature acceptable for classroom teaching and learning

PPTA policy sets the lowest temperature acceptable for classroom teaching at 10 degrees centigrade.

Maximum temperature acceptable for classroom teaching and learning

Most people are comfortable between temperatures of 16 and 24 degrees and all efforts should be made to maintain temperatures within this range.

However, experience in 1998 of unusually high temperatures (anticipated to reoccur in 1999 and beyond) led to requests for formal guidance from PPTA on what was a suitable maximum temperature for teaching.

Branches are advised to apply use the Heat Stress Index as a guide. This is a formula which produces a number that represents the combined effect of the air temperature, radiant heat and the humidity. The reference chart attached can be used.

Download pdf Download Temperature advice

Members are reminded that they are legally entitled to take industrial action when their health and safety is demonstrably at risk.

It is assumed, however, that the board will be concerned about the health of both staff and students and branches should work with the board to establish a sensible upper temperature response into the board's health and safety policies before a situation arises when it may be needed.

More information:

Link to external website Health and safety in schools (Ministry of Education website)