School Premises Regulations

The duty of care for a school or college does not just cover the direct treatment of staff and pupils but also unsurprisingly, the standard and maintenance of School Premises as well. In this article we will provide information on the pieces of legislation that directly apply to school premise to guide you in creating a safer environment for all.

All schools have standards that they should abide by, but there are different regulations that you should be aware of dependent on what type of school you are:

  • The Education (School Premises) Regulations 2012 – Applies to all maintained Schools, Colleges, Nurseries, Community, Foundation and Voluntary Schools in England and Wales. Also to non-maintained special and independent schools for special needs children
  • The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 – Applies to all academies, free schools and independent schools.
  • Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 – Applies to all educational establishments in the UK.
  • School Building Handbooks (Nursery, Primary and Secondary) – Is used to advise the design of new school buildings in Northern Ireland.

These regulations have an influence over the heating, lighting, water, fire, ventilation, medical facilities, toilet facilities, staff room and rest rooms. The difficulty for schools is that the pertinent information is spread across the different regulations. We will try to pick out the key highlights to provide you with the information you need.


In regards to the heating of school premises schools are only bound by minimum temperatures and there is no defined maximum temperature. Minimum temperatures vary by the type of physical activity for a room, ranging from lower activity rooms such as medical rooms and nurses offices, normal levels of activity rooms such as a library or classroom and higher such as drama rooms or gymnasiums. The minimum temperature definitions are:

  • Low activity – 21°C
  • Normal activity – 18°C
  • High activity – 15°C

To maintain a comfortable temperature for staff and pupils we would recommend a temperature range between 17°C and 24°C.

Light Quality

The quality of light is primarily dictated by the Education (School Premises) Regulations 2012. The light should have, where possible, utilise natural light and be of at least 300 lux and no more than 500 lux where intense, continuous visual concentration is needed.

Air Quality

In regards to the standards of air stipulated by the regulations, schools are required to provide for each occupant at least 8 litres of fresh air and should have sufficient ventilation from fresh or purified air.

Room Facilities

All workplaces including schools are required to provide facilities for rest, eating and medical purposes. Staff/Rest rooms must provide hot drink preparation facilities and medical rooms must have a washbasin and be situated close to W/C facilities.

In regards to toilet facilities, schools must provide the following:

For Pupils

  • For <5 year olds – 1 toilet per every 10 pupils
  • For >5 year olds – 1 toilet per every 20 pupils
  • Special Schools – 1 toilet per every 10 pupils (no age consideration)

For Staff

  • 1 toilet required for 1-5 staff members
  • 2 toilets for 6-25 staff members
  • 3 toilets for 26-50 staff members
  • 4 toilets for 51-75 staff members
  • 5 toilets for 76-100 staff members

We hope this will have provided you more information into the provisions required for staff and pupils at your school. At Safety Pads, it is our aim to make school environments as safe as possible, if you would like any more information about regulations for health and safety, explore our other articles or head to our schools page to find out more about Safety Pads.