NSW schools with and without air-con

Life's a cool breeze for the children of Warren, near Dubbo, where there is one classroom air conditioner for every five students. The kids of Broken Hill are doing nearly as well, with an air conditioner for every 13 students.

But at Canterbury Public and Captains Flat, summer is stifling.

They are among about 150 schools in NSW that still don't have air cooling in their permanent classrooms, according to new data that reveals the haves and have nots when it comes to air conditioning across the state.

The Education Department figures, obtained by the NSW opposition, detail the number of air cooling in schools' permanent classrooms. They show there are 10,000 classrooms in NSW with no form of air conditioning.

Almost 300 schools have either zero, or only one, air conditioned classroom, and in western Sydney, just 97 of the 452 schools are fully air conditioned according to the Department of Education data, released under the government information act.

For example, Greystanes High School and The Hills Sports High School have fewer than 10 per cent of classrooms air cooled, and only seven classrooms at Parramatta West Public School are air conditioned. There are no cooled classrooms at Canterbury Public School.

The data excludes air conditioners in demountable classrooms.

In the June budget, the government announced it would spend $500 million on putting air conditioning into up to 1000 schools across NSW. Labor added that money to the $300 million it had already earmarked, and has now pledged $800 million.

*Does not include temporary classrooms or airconditioning units installed by P&Cs. Source: Department of Education

*Does not include temporary classrooms or airconditioning units installed by P&Cs. Source: Department of Education

Opposition spokesman Jihad Dib said hot, stuffy classrooms hurt children's ability to focus and learn. "These figures illustrate a desperate need for air conditioning across the state, especially in parts of western Sydney where it gets to 40 degrees regularly," he said.

"For eight years, [the government] hasn't been thinking about it. Then they take an interest when we make an announcement. It goes to show that Labor is leading the education debate from opposition."

Labor has pledged to air condition every school. It would conduct an audit to determine schools' needs, then begin installing air conditioners in the hottest classrooms. It would roll the projects out through Schools Infrastructure NSW to "avoid any inconsistency".

"If you want to have the best of quality education, you need a conducive teaching and learning environment," Mr Dib said.

A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education said all schools that experienced a long-term mean January maximum of 30 degrees and above would receive air conditioning in their permanent classrooms and libraries.

Schools below that temperature could apply for funding, he said, and the assessment would look at a classroom's humidity, existing infrastructure and design. The program would be delivered by School Infrastructure NSW over five years.