Hundreds of regional schools across the State will soon be air-conditioned thanks to the Nationals in Government.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke announced 63 schools in the Cootamundra electorate would be among the first to receive air conditioning under the Cooler Classrooms program.

“I’m pleased that so many schools in our community will benefit from the Cooler Classrooms Fund,” Ms Cooke said. “This is part of the NSW Government’s continued commitment to providing environments where our students and teachers can best succeed. These schools will have much more comfortable and enjoyable learning environments thanks to this funding.”

“A hot classroom makes being at school a test of endurance for students and teachers, and can have a negative effect on the delivery of lessons.”

“This program will put an end to the discomfort of hot classrooms and lead to happier students, happier teachers and happier parents,” Ms Cooke said.

More than 400 schools in Nationals electorates will get air conditioning, including 69 in Barwon, 61 in Murray, 38 in Northern Tablelands and 35 in Tamworth.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Education Minister Rob Stokes said more than 900 schools would be the first to receive funding under the NSW Government’s record $500 million program – the largest investment of its kind in NSW history.

“We’re thrilled to be delivering on our commitment to provide healthy learning environments in which our students and teachers can thrive, no matter the weather,” Ms Berejiklian said. “Delivering air conditioning to more schools than ever before is only possible due to the strong economic management of the NSW Government.”

Schools in areas which have an average maximum January temperature of 30 degrees or more will now automatically receive air conditioning in their classrooms and libraries, while all other schools can apply for funding under the Cooler Classrooms Fund on a needs basis. Previously only schools with an average maximum January temperature of 33 degrees or more were air conditioned.

The first round of applications took place throughout Term 3 this year. A second round will open in the new year.

Mr Stokes said the Cooler Classrooms program was both economically and environmentally sustainable.

“We’re installing solar panels and ‘smart systems’ alongside the air conditioning units, so schools can offset their additional energy use and efficiently heat and cool their schools,” Mr Stokes said.

In addition to the hundreds of schools benefiting under the Cooler Classrooms program, air conditioning will be delivered in all new and upgraded schools under the Government’s record $6 billion school building program over the next four years.

“Every one of our 170 new and upgraded schools, including more than 2000 new classrooms, will also receive the new sustainable air conditioning systems,” Mr Stokes said.

School principals are encouraged to apply to the second round of the Fund, which will open on Day 1 of Term 1 next year.