Record-breaking temperatures for the UK
Pupils and staff at Deer Park showed true resilience and determination on Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 July 2022 as temperatures soared. We monitored the temperatures throughout each day and, fortunately, our indoor spaces, while still much hotter than usual, were cooler than the shaded areas outside which peaked on Monday afternoon at 37°C. On Tuesday we saw an average increase of 1° in most classrooms and a peak of 38°C degrees outside in the shade.
As a school we planned ahead and put a number of mitigations in place to ensure teaching and learning could continue.
In line with our established hot weather contingency plans, pupils were allowed to wear their PE shorts and skorts. However, we extended this to full PE kit for the rest of this term and staff were encouraged to wear loose fitting clothing or shorts.
Some classes, especially those on the top floor of our main building were relocated to ‘cooler’ parts of the school and the curriculum was adapted to make learning more sustainable in the heat. In PE, pupils moved indoors and took part in low impact activities including yoga.
We made our best endeavours to ensure all of our pupils stayed safe. Pupils and staff kept themselves hydrated and water bottles were constantly being refilled. The ice lollies on sale in the canteen were very much in demand.
We are grateful to our site team who put strategies in place to ensure our buildings cooled down overnight and, previously, over the weekend. We followed the guidance provided by the Department for Education and local authority. Indoors, we invested in fans and outside, we encouraged pupils to stay in the shade of the trees if they went outside. While some sought respite under the gazebo erected by our site team on the front field, many chose to gather in cooler parts of the school.
The excessive temperatures represented another challenge for the school and, in our spirit of ‘can do’, staff rose to the occasion. We were all envious of those working in air-conditioned offices and our Welfare Assistant temporarily relocated to our Pastoral Office and offered assistance to pupils succumbing to the heat in a much cooler environment.
I know it has been difficult for everyone in this heat, but I am extremely grateful to everyone, including our pupils, for contributing to and supporting our response. The atmosphere felt calm and purposeful. I am pleased so many pupils attended school. It was hot everywhere, including at home. Many children appreciated being with their peers and coped admirably.
Chiquita Henson, Headteacher