SWELTERING schools need new regulations to stop pupils sweating over their books, the country’s largest teaching union claims.

Conditions may be hovering above 0C outside just now, but Scotland’s largest teaching union is calling on the Scottish Government to introduce a maximum acceptable temperature to cool down the country’s hotbeds of learning.

While workplace regulations set out 16C as the minimum acceptable level for workplaces, a top grade has not been pinned down.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) claims this is contrary to the health and wellbeing of teachers and students.

Levels of learning are also impaired when the mercury is too high, according to the workforce body.

Current rules insist that all indoor workplaces must be at a “reasonable” temperature during operational hours.

However, they do not apply to non-employees and can be treated only as guidance in classrooms.

The call comes in the union’s response to a Holyrood consultation on regulations over updates to school premises.

It states that issue “generates a very large number” of contacts from EIS members.

The union told the Scottish Government: “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.

“This impairment in learning can also occur when the learning environment is too cold.”

The submission goes on: “School classrooms are not just accommodation; they are learning environments each requiring their own specific minimum temperatures.

“The Workplace Regulations 1992 are too vague to be applied meaningfully in school settings.”

The consultation sought responses to plans to update minimum standards for school buildings set 50 years ago in 1967.

In its submission, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) also raised concerns about classroom heat levels.

The written response states: “Insufficient temperature regulation is a common complaint made by teachers which impacts adversely upon teaching and pupils’ learning.”

The Scottish Government said it will “take into account” the responses received during the consultation, which is now closed, with the new regulations expected to be submitted to MSPs for approval in the “early part” of this year.

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS, said: “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 maximum 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,” he added.