The Met Office has extended an amber extreme heat warning for Sunday 17 July, Monday 18 July and Tuesday 19 July, as temperatures will build this weekend and early next week for much of England and Wales.
The amber warning highlights likely adverse health effects for the public, not just limited to those most vulnerable to extreme heat.
Temperatures could be in excess of 35°C in the southeast, and more widely around 32°C within the warning area, with Monday and Tuesday most likely to see temperatures around this level.
There is clear government guidance on looking after children and those in early years settings during heatwaves, including the use of ventilation, keeping children hydrated, and avoiding vigorous physical activity, encouraging children to wear loose, light coloured clothing and sunhats with wide brims, to use sunscreen, and providing them with plenty of water.
Please see below detail of how Holy Family is tackling next week to ensure children and staff are safe in extreme heat.
Symptoms of heat exposure are detail at the bottom of this email as well as detail of how to treat symptoms when seen.
Protecting children and staff
- we will open windows as early as possible in the morning before children arrive.
- we will keep the use of electric lighting to a minimum
- we will switch off all electrical equipment, including computers, monitors and printers when not in use.
- children should wear loose, light-coloured clothing to help keep cool
- the shorts and t-shirt day has been extended to two days ( Monday and Tuesday ) next week to support this suggestion; parent shave been advised.
- staff are also encouraged to wear cool loose clothing while maintaining appropriate clothing for a work environment.
- we will provide children and staff with plenty of water (such as water from a cold tap)
- All parents are reminded to remember a water bottle.
- we ask that parents use sunscreen (at least factor 15 with UVA protection) to protect skin as children may be playing or taking lessons outdoors for more than 20 minutes
- Parents are asked to apply sunscreen to their children prior to attending school. We are unable to complete this in school.
- All staff have also been reminded to ensure they apply sunscreen during their working day to protect themselves.
- children will not take part in vigorous physical activity on very hot days, such as when temperatures are in excess of 30°C
- PE lessons will take place in shaded area if taken outside next week.
- Less energetic lessons will be planned in relation to the heat and time of day lesson taken.
- All children at break and lunchtime will use the shaded areas of the field and mobile. Hats must be worn at all times. No football or running games.
- Water jugs can be taken outside if supportive of hydration but children will also take their water bottles outside as part of break or lunchtime.
- All staff have also been remined to ensure they keep up their own level of hydration during break and lunchtime
Children suffering from heat stress may seem out of character or show signs of discomfort and irritability (including those listed below for heat exhaustion). These signs will worsen with physical activity and if left untreated can lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion vary but include one or more of the following:
- hot, red and dry skin
When the body is exposed to very high temperatures, the mechanism that controls body temperature may stop working. Heatstroke can develop if heat stress or heat exhaustion is left untreated, but it can also occur suddenly and without warning.
Symptoms of heatstroke may include:
- high body temperature – a temperature of or above 40°C (104°F) is a major sign of heatstroke
- red, hot skin and sweating that then suddenly stops
- fast heartbeat
- fast shallow breathing
- confusion/lack of co-ordination
- loss of consciousness
Actions to protect children suffering from heat illness
The following steps to reduce body temperature should be taken immediately:
- Move the child to as cool a room as possible and encourage them to drink cool water (such as water from a cold tap).
- At Holy Family this will be the school office
- Cool the child as rapidly as possible, using whatever methods you can. For example, sponge or spray the child with cool (25 to 30°C) water – if available, place cold packs around the neck and armpits, or wrap the child in a cool, wet sheet and assist cooling with a fan.
- Cold Packs are available. Second-hand uniform top will be soaked in water and placed over shoulders. Fan will be relocated to assist with cooling.
- Dial 999 to request an ambulance if the person doesn’t respond to the above treatment within 30 minutes.
- Office will make this phone call and advise parents as needed
If a child loses consciousness, or has a fit, place the child in the recovery position, call 999 immediately and follow the steps above until medical assistance arrives.
With these plans in place we hope parents are reassured that your children's safety in such extreme circumstances is always our top priority.