Turn up heat to get girls performing at their best

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I KNEW IT! Women cannot work properly unless they are warm. Well at least girls can’t, according to recent research.

How do you get a girl to perform at her peak in the classroom? Researchers have discovered that all it takes is to turn up the heating a notch or two - by three degrees to be exact.

A temperature of 24 degrees is ideal, and that way, our brains keep warmly ticking over.

Reading the piece took me back to my school days at the former Brighouse Girls’ Grammar, when I seem to recall that all the classrooms were snug and warm, from the art room at the top of the building to the geography room with its globes and maps. Even the corridors seemed tropical.

And the room where we were taught domestic science was extra cosy of course as all the ovens blasted out additional heat, along with the comforting aromas of apple crumble or shepherd’s pie.

However, heating was a major issue.

We girls knew that if it failed to rise to the occasion, then there was a carefully drafted plan that would be put into place, a plan that could even secure you an early finish.

It was a given those chunky, old-fashioned, cast-iron Victorian radiators gently hummed and sizzled, providing the essential backdrop to everything from French verbs to mind-boggling logarithms.

On a cold, wet day - deemed too inclement to spend break times and lunch time outdoors - girls would nestle and cling to them, like birds on a telegraph wire.

On the odd occasion when they failed, it was a matter of national importance almost.

Each classroom in turn would be visited by the head mistress who would announce that due to a broken heating system, it had been decided to send girls home - after first trying to contact parents in the cases of younger ones.

Should the heating be off for the odd hour, then there was a chance you might be allowed to work in your school coat and scarf, but any longer and that contingency plan would be unacceptable.

There was only one option - an early finish.

It was rare of course. But it was a real treat when it happened.

So obviously our teachers and headmistress were ahead of their time and realised long before this research was even thought of, let along published, that girls needed to be treated like hot house flowers.

Boys on the other hand, can tolerate chillier conditions.

Put them in a classroom that’s too warm and they’ll become slothful. Any excuse.

Other ideas, gathered from scientific studies, reveal that schools should have nooks and crannies with soft surfaces and outdoor mini-amphitheatres rather than big atriums, as girls thrive when they have small spaces for intimate groups to talk.

Maybe there’s something in this as I’d have to say that my favourite spots were the far corner of the library where the book shelves formed a hidden corner, or the patch of grass on the edge of the tennis court, where the tress provided a shady arbour.

Oh happy days.