LUCKY ONE: Karalee prep student Wyatt, 5, is one of the lucky children across the Ipswich region. His classroom has air conditioning. Dad Michael says all new school buildings should be built with air conditioning.
LUCKY ONE: Karalee prep student Wyatt, 5, is one of the lucky children across the Ipswich region. His classroom has air conditioning. Dad Michael says all new school buildings should be built with air conditioning. Helen Spelitis

'Headaches, cranky': Heat causes classroom inequality

THE six Huckle children come from one family attend different schools and have completely different learning environments.

Some of the children walk out of the school gates happy, the others become cranky, tired, and red- faced.

Karalee prep student Wyatt, 5, is one of the lucky children - at his school, every single classroom has airconditioning.

When Wyatt leaves for the day, he's happy and full of beans.

Dad Michael wishes it was the same story for all of his children.

"The ones that don't have airconditioning have had headaches and been generally cranky," Michael said.

"The children aren't able to learn anything when they are that uncomfortable. It really affects them.

"Why doesn't the Government have a rule that any new school buildings must have air conditioning?"

That's a question the QT posed to Education Queensland and we await their response.

The past week was particularly bad with Ipswich residents suffering through the summer's worst heatwave.

In Ipswich, the heatwave peaked on Wednesday at 40C.

That's about 5C hotter that in Brisbane.



Across the state, heat records tumbled. The Bureau of Meteorology confirmed this week was the first time the Queensland average maximum was above 40C for consecutive days.

Ipswich mum Blair Bowen has two children at two schools; one has airconditioned classrooms, the other does not.

Blair's daughter Kailyn, 6, goes to Blair State School and her classroom is airconditioned.

"Kailyn is fine," Blair said.

"My other daughter Maddison is not. She goes to Raceview State School and this week she has been really moody.

"When I pick her up, she is constantly red-faced and generally not happy.

"She says it's too hot to focus when she's at school."

Both Michael and Blair were among a chorus of parents calling for action.


Teachers union backs parents, calls for 'climate control'

FOR years, the Queensland Teachers' Union has been calling on Education Queensland to introduce uniform "climate control" in all classrooms across the state by 2020.

This year, the union decided to undertake a census of the conditions teachers and students are subjected to in non-airconditioned classrooms.

The census happened to start this week, during the summer's worst heatwave.

The last of that data was submitted yesterday afternoon but as of Tuesday, 40 schools from across the southeast, including Ipswich, had reported back.

So far, the classroom monitoring shows the average classroom temperature at noon was 31.9C, with a high of 39C.

Queensland Teachers' Union Vice President Sam Pidgeon said the extreme heat was undoubtedly impacting students and teachers.

Ms Pidgeon also pointed out an inherent problem in expecting parents to chip in for airconditioning, saying that attitude increased disadvantage for students in lower socio-economic areas where parents had a diminished capacity to contribute financially.

"There is no doubt there's a massive impact on teachers' capacity to teach when it's this hot," Ms Pidgeon said.

"In extreme cases we have teachers taking kids out of the classroom because it's cooler outside than in.

"We would argue that providing cool classroom spaces is simply part of providing a safe and supportive learning environment," Ms Pidgeon said. From the union's point of view, that responsibility lies with Education Queensland rather than having schools fund raise to install air-conditioning.

Ms Pidgeon said asking parents to pay effectively "doubled inequity".

"It means children who are already disadvantaged are also more likely to be sitting in classrooms without airconditioning.

"So that disadvantage is further compounded."

Education Queensland was contacted for comment.

Ipswich's newest school has no airconditioning

THREE new schools will soon be built in the Ipswich region.  

If Education Queensland doesn't shift policy, it's unlikely those schools will have airconditioning.   

In 2016, Deebing Heights State School opened.   

Unlike the well-established Karalee State School, which boasts a fully airconditioned campus, the brand new school north west of South Ripley has no airconditioned classrooms.   

Two of the new schools will be built in the Ripley Valley.  

They are due to open in 2020.

One will be a high school, the other a primary school.

The primary school will cater for 1000 students and the high school will cater for 1500 students.  

The third school is a new primary school for Springfield West and will be constructed under a public-private partnership.   

Education Queensland was contacted for comment.  

'Zombie' Cyclone Owen is back with a vengeance

'Zombie' Cyclone Owen is back with a vengeance

'Zombie' cyclone back from the dead.

Farewell to loved dad

Farewell to loved dad

Beloved father and husband farewelled.

Crunch time is here

Crunch time is here

Queensland Year 12 graduates eagerly awaiting their results.

Local Partners