Bishop's Stortford and Sawbridgeworth secondary school heads get ready for scorching end of term
Schools in Bishop's Stortford and Sawbridgeworth are preparing for a sweltering end to the summer term.
The heads of the towns' secondaries have been co-ordinating their response to the heatwave, although responsibility for specific measures rests with individual principals.
Malcolm White, head of Sawbridgeworth's Leventhorpe School in Cambridge Road, is the current chair of BSET – Bishop's Stortford Educational Trust – which represents all six state secondaries and 14 local primaries.
He said: "We've been in contact about what we're doing in this period of hot weather and we've done broadly similar things to address issues in our own contexts."
While he stressed that each school made its own accommodations, Mr White said: "We've been adapting uniform – for example, no need to wear ties and blazers – and schools are allowing students to wear PE kit.
"We'll be looking at our site issues and allowing students indoors for breaks and lunch, we will re-room lessons so that the cooler parts of the site can be used where this is possible, we encourage hydration and sunscreen to be used, and schools will make their own decisions on things like adapting PE lessons or not allowing ball games at lunchtime etc.
"We need to manage issues for our staff, and we will all be looking at issues like staff dress code. I've relaxed ours next week, relocating lessons, using fans, ensuring ventilation etc within each of our schools."
As temperatures head towards 40C on Monday and Tuesday (July 18-19) and the Met Office for the first time ever issued a red alert for extreme heat, Herts and Essex High School – where term ends on Tuesday – and The Bishop's Stortford High School, Birchwood High School and Leventhorpe – which break up on Wednesday – are set to remain open. Hockerill Anglo-European College's school year has ended and St Mary's Catholic School finishes today (Friday, July 15).
Herts and Essex High School emailed parents on Friday to say that Tuesday's planned sports day at Bishop's Stortford College's sports fields off Great Hadham Road had been cancelled. It is the third summer in a row that the event has been called off. Birchwood has also called off its sports day.
Met Office chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen said: "Exceptional, perhaps record-breaking temperatures are likely early next week, quite widely across the red warning area on Monday, and focused a little more east and north on Tuesday. Currently, there is a 50% chance we could see temperatures top 40C (104F) and 80% we will see a new maximum temperature reached."
The current record high temperature in the UK is 38.7C, reached at Cambridge Botanic Garden on July 25, 2019.
Temperatures are expected to start to return closer to normal for the time of year from the middle of next week as cooler air pushes across the country from the west.