From the President
27 Nov 2019
Climate control in classrooms rolls out
Tens of thousands more Queensland students will be learning in cooler classrooms from early next year thanks to a fast-tracked state government investment in further improving learning conditions.
A QTU campaign over the past two years has clearly made the case for the need for measures in classrooms in all schools to ensure that the opportunities for Queensland students to get the most out of their education are not impacted by the climatic conditions.
QTU members collected evidence about temperatures inside classrooms regularly reaching 35 degrees, and in some areas more than 45 degrees. International research shows such temperatures impact on student learning and teachers teaching and temperatures in the low 30s make new learning impossible.
The state government already funds the provision of air conditioning in 390 schools in the Cooler Schools zone. Most of the schools in the far north, north and west of the state are included.
The 2019-2020 state budget committed $100 million over the next four years to beginning the installation of air conditioning in Queensland schools. Some weeks ago, the initial allocation of $25 million was directed to a first group of 40 schools across Wide Bay and Ipswich and works commenced immediately.
This week’s announcement adds 261 more schools in other regions through the fast-tracking of the second tranche of $25 million. These schools were selected based on Bureau of Meteorology data on heat discomfort – the number of days of temperatures above 30 degrees during Term 1 and Term 4 combined with the highest average apparent temperature.
Some concerns have been expressed about schools on the Gold Coast and North Brisbane missing out on this first part of the roll-out. The clear intent is to continue to roll out the program to other schools with the remaining budget allocation. The methodology used for selection of schools appears to be a good way to prioritise the hottest schools outside of the existing Cooler Schools zone.
Another important development is the inclusion of the principles of passive solar design, climate control mechanisms and solar renewal energy generation in the design of all new schools. The Advancing Clean Energy Schools program, placing solar panels on state school buildings, will also make the running costs of climate control measures affordable for schools.
Everyone accepts that Queensland students deserve to learn and teachers deserve to teach in appropriate classroom conditions. This announcement goes a long way to actually delivering improvements not just talking about it.