Will schools in Manchester close due to UK heatwave? Latest on school closures after red weather warning

The Met Office have issued a red warning for extreme heat for the first time ever

Extreme temperatures are set to hit Manchester next week, with the Met Office predicting around 34C in parts of the region.

The prediction resulted in  the Met Office issuing a red extreme weather warning for large areas of England, including Manchester.

The forecast has raised some questions over what should happen with schools in Manchester next week, and whether or not they should close for the days during a heatwave.

What is the Met Office warning?

The graphics showing the Met Office warning (Graphic: Met Office)

The Met Office has issued a red warning for extreme temperatures which covers some of the UK’s major cities, including Manchester.

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The warning comes into effect at midnight on Monday, 18 July and is currently in place until 11.59pm on Tuesday, 19 July.

What could be the effects of the extreme temperatures?

The Met Office has also issued information on what is possible through the red extreme heat warning.

Here is what we’ve been told to expect: 

  • Population-wide adverse health effects experienced, not limited to those most vulnerable to extreme heat, leading to serious illness or danger to life. Government advice is that 999 services should be used in emergencies only; seek advice from 111 if you need non-emergency health advice.
  • Substantial changes in working practices and daily routines will be required
  • High risk of failure of heat-sensitive systems and equipment, potentially leading to localised loss of power and other essential services, such as water or mobile phone services
  • Significantly more people visiting coastal areas, lakes and rivers, leading to an increased risk of water safety incidents
  • Delays on roads and road closures, along with delays and cancellations to rail and air travel, with significant welfare issues for those who experience even moderate delays

Could schools in Manchester close because of the high temperatures?

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Schools are not required by law to close during a heatwave, and this would suggest that it will be left up to the individual school.

Bridge Hall Primary School in Stockport closed early yesterday (18 July) - shutting at 1.30pm - and did the same today, asking for children to arrive for 8.30am.

Another school, Falinge Park High in Rochdale also closed at 12:30pm yesterday, just before the temperature peaked.

Sale High decided to skip precautions and early finishes, and just decided to close for the entire day.

It is unclear if schools will be closed tomorrow, as there is no active heatwave. To check, contact the school directly.

The Department for Education issued a statement on 14 July providing information on how to stay safe during heat waves, but went on to add that they aren’t advising schools to close during the high temperatures.

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A spokesperson said: “During heat waves it’s important that everyone stays safe and makes sure they drink plenty of water and avoid being exposed to the sun for too long – this is especially important for children.

“We aren’t advising schools to close during high temperatures, but school leaders should make sure they take any steps necessary to make sure children are safe and comfortable.”

This statement was issued before the Met Office weather warning for extreme heat was changed from amber to red, and this piece will be updated with any developments.

ManchesterWorld has contacted Manchester City Council for information on what will happen with schools.

The council has advised children should do less physical activity and will be encouraged to stay in the shade, wear loose fitting clothes and wear wide brimmed hats to school. Sun cream would be encouraged and windows in schools kept open.

Councils and local authorities are gearing up for the hot weather, which could last well into the week.

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What are the signs of heatstroke in children?

The Department for Health and Social Care say that children cannot control their body temperature as well as adults during hot weather, making them more susceptible.

The department have guidelines for the signs of heat related medical conditions in children, including heatstroke - the symptoms for which are listed below:

  • 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 coordination
  • fits
  • loss of consciousness