“Whether the weather be fine, Or whether the weather be not, Whether the weather be cold, Or whether the weather be hot, We’ll weather the weather Whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not!” So says the adage and, for everyone working in a school, it couldn’t really be more accurate!

With the wind howling, rain pouring, and the chill of winter nipping at your nose, it’s easy to see how the playground can quickly become a platform for varying levels of pupil hysteria. The wind tousling their hair, their volume switched to max as they shout at the top of their voices to reach their friends over the noise of the wind. They’re running and jumping and pushing and shoving and whirling and spinning and spiralling out of control.

Then the whistle blows.

“And quickly now, get in line, quieten down and walk quietly back to class – show me you’re ready to learn.” Sound familiar?

So, how much does the weather impact behaviour?

Certainly, sensory processing is a significant factor – a state of arousal can be heightened (or lowered) due to extreme changes in the weather such as:

– Starting school cold and wet

– Starting school hot and sweaty

– Being restricted to class in the heavy rain

– Being able to take part in sports and other physical activities due to hot temperatures

– Suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder

As far back as Hippocrates, there have been mentions of the weather and the effect it has on us as a species. It is certainly something I have heard many times in schools as a teacher looks out of the window with trepidation and says the dreaded words: “Wind’s up, playtime’s going to be a nightmare!”

So how true is it?

1) We certainly believe it – A survey of hundreds of UK headteachers in 2020 found that 74% believed that strong wind is the worst weather for pupil’s behaviour.

2) A study from the University of Nevada in 1990 looked at a range of weather variables. The researchers concluded that the children seek out more human company when the weather makes them feel uneasy.

3) But a 1989 study by researchers at the University of Lancashire actually found that slightly fewer children were sent to a ‘quiet room’ on windier days.

So, the studies are a bit inconclusive, can we say that the weather effects a child’s behaviour? Does ‘reverse’ pathetic fallacy play a part here? We love to give human attributes to the weather, perhaps this works two-ways?

Whether the weather be good or bad, whatever the weather may be, you work with it as always. You are brilliant!

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