Ventilation: requirements and guidance

Every enclosed space in your school must have sufficient fresh or purified air. Learn how to measure air quality in your school and the steps you should take to improve ventilation in your classrooms.

Last reviewed on 19 February 2024
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 49265
  1. Your requirements
  2. Why does air quality matter?
  3. Ventilation doesn't have to cost much
  4. Find out if you need to act on this
  5. Using air cleaning units
  6. Include ventilation in your maintenance schedule

Your requirements

You must make "effective and suitable provision" that every enclosed space in your school is ventilated by "a sufficient quantity of fresh or purified air".

This is set out in regulation 6 of the Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations.

What does this mean?

Ventilation is the process of bringing fresh air into a building and removing poor-quality air.

The National Engineering Policy Centre describes 2 ways of doing this: natural and mechanical.

Natural ventilation includes windows, doors, air bricks and vents.

Mechanical ventilation uses fans and other technology to bring in fresh air and remove stale air.

It’s likely your school uses a mix of natural and mechanical ventilation depending on the type of space.

Air conditioning isn’t ventilation, as it circulates the same air instead of bringing in new air.

Keeping your school well-ventilated has a lot of benefits for pupils

The Key has taken great care in publishing this article. However, some of the article's content and information may come from or link to third party sources whose quality, relevance, accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability we do not guarantee. Accordingly, we will not be held liable for any use of or reliance placed on this article's content or the links or downloads it provides. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.