Despite Australia being one of the hottest countries in the world, there are far too many schools that don't have adequate systems in place to combat high heat. A hot and stuffy school doesn't just make students and teachers uncomfortable -- it could also affect your pupil achievement levels. It's difficult for teachers to teach and for students to listen when they're overheating. In fact, Professor Michael Nagel from USC found that reading comprehension diminishes at just 28°C. When some parts of the country can reach temperatures above 40°C, it's clear that hot weather will lower pupils' grades.

Aside from direct effects on learning, too much heat can also cause students to become aggressive and unwell, causing further problems with behaviour and absences. So, where should you spend your school's budget to reduce the negative effects of heat and help students achieve more? Here are 2 systems to implement before summer hits.

Free School-Provided Water Bottles

Everyone knows how crucial drinking water is during hot spells, but young people often forget to keep themselves hydrated. It is crucial that children and teens drink enough water to regulate their body temperature. Students should be drinking 1.4 to 1.9 litres of water everyday, but they may need even more in the summer months due to excess sweating. Of course, many teachers object to students leaving the classroom for a drink as it disrupts lessons. Instead of trusting students to bring enough water to school with them, bring the water to them by purchasing water bottles for every child in the school.

This system is easy to implement. Order enough bottles for every child and have them marked with the student's names. The bottles can be stored in the form classrooms overnight and filled up by a nominated student each morning. Students can then fill their own bottles as needed throughout the day, depositing them in their form classroom before they go home. This way, schools can ensure that every student has access to hydration. If there are policies against eating and drinking in class at your school, ensure these rules are relaxed during the summer months. Remember to also make sure that bathrooms are clean and safe at all times, as some young students may refrain from drinking to avoid using an unclean or bully-dominated toilet.

School-Wide Air Conditioning

An air conditioning system is one of the best ways to combat high temperatures, as it tackles multiple issues associated with hot weather. Given that young people sweat more, it doesn't take long for unpleasant body odour to fill a classroom and further distract students from their work. Many children also notice a flare up of asthma and allergy symptoms in hot weather due to increased pollutants in the atmosphere. Air conditioning units solve all these problems by extracting allergens and odours from the environment and blowing out a cooling breeze.

When selecting air conditioners for your school, ensure you choose a quieter model -- you don't want to replace distracting heat with distracting sounds. Units can be wall-mounted, ceiling-mounted, ducted, or free-standing, and usually a combination of various types will be needed. Ensure that you plan for AC in all parts of your school. IT rooms, for example, can be even hotter than classrooms due to the heat output from the computers.