|Promoting better toilets for pupils|
This page shows easy access to clean and well-maintained toilets fit in with the Healthy School Programme, what the Food in Schools guidance is on toilets, the case for better school toilets, provides a link to a written School Toilet Policy, gives news of the new Bog Standard Award, and includes case studies from healthy schools.
What are Healthy Schools?
The National Healthy School Programme (NHSP) is funded by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and the Department of Health (DH), with a regional and local network. The overall aim is to help schools to become healthier. It is part of the Government's drive to support children and young people in developing healthy behaviours, raising pupil achievement, reducing health inequalities, and promoting social inclusion.
By 2009, the Government wants every school to be working towards achieving national Healthy School status. New guidance has been issued because, since 1 September 2005, there has been a more rigorous approach to the Programme. To satisfy the requirements of national Healthy School status, schools now have to use a whole-school approach involving the whole school community to meet the criteria in each of the four core themes:
The link with toilets
The promotion of easy access to clean and well-maintained toilets is part of a whole school approach to promoting physical and mental health. There are excellent opportunities to involve all the pupils, the staff, the home and the wider community. School toilets can be incorporated into all the Healthy School criteria.
Every authority in England has its own local Healthy Schools Programme. Visit the Government’s website www.healthyschools.gov.uk for details of your local scheme..
Healthy Schools and Ofsted
Ofsted now expects schools to demonstrate how they are contributing to the five national outcomes for children stipulated by Every Child Matters and the Children Act 2004 – being healthy; staying safe, enjoying and achieving; making a positive contribution; and economic well-being. Easy access to clean and well-maintained toilet facilities can be incorporated into all the criteria. Gaining Healthy School status provides rigorous evidence of attainment and assists a school in evidencing Ofsted’s self-evaluation inspections.
Schools need to ensure that pupils “have easy access to free, clean and palatable drinking water, using the Food in Schools guidance”. Many schools are encouraging pupils to drink water throughout the school day, to improve hydration. This has a positive impact on health and concentration levels. However, if we want pupils to drink water during the school day, then visiting the school's toilet facilities should not be an unpleasant experience and pupils should be afforded easy access when they need it. The Food in Schools guidance on toilets states:
“School efforts to improve water provision and encourage the increased consumption of water will be hampered if:
It is important that pupils are allowed to go to the toilet when they need to, especially if they are being encouraged to drink water. Restricted use of toilet facilities can lead to psychological problems, constipation, wetting and urinary problems. Pupils who do not need to go to the toilet at least once at school need to drink more.
There is evidence that increased availability of water and encouragement to drink regularly does increase the need for toilet visits initially but, as good habits are developed, this need reverts to normal. You may need to adjust the school day to give adequate access to toilets.
It is important that toilets have clean and well-stocked washing facilities. This includes warm water, soap and hygienic hand dryers for use by pupils.”
Above extract is from Water Provision guidance, the Food in Schools Toolkit. http://foodinschools.datacenta.uk.net/
The case for better toilets
Written School Toilet Policy
A growing number of schools are establishing a written School Toilet Policy. A policy enables schools to develop and maintain a shared philosophy and co-ordinated approach to their school toilets and when pupils are allowed to use them. A written school toilet policy is a powerful indication to children and parents that teachers value and respect the welfare of their pupils. You can see an example school toilet policy on the school toilet policy page.
In association with Healthy Schools, Bog Standard has developed the School Toilet Award to recognise and promote good toilet provision for pupils in schools. The Award has been successfully piloted in Sandwell by the Healthy Schools team and is currently being piloted by several more Healthy Schools teams. The award sets out criteria to fulfil the Bog Standard Charter and there are three levels of the award – Silver, Gold and Gold with Distinction. The award is self-certified with a sample of schools moderated. After an audit of the toilets, an action plan is drawn up. Before an award is made, two school council reps, head teacher, chair of governors, site manager and the school’s Healthy Schools co-ordinator must all sign a certificate to say the standards have been met. Successful schools receive a School Toilet Award, which is valid for three years. The aim is to offer the Award nationally to all schools via Healthy Schools.
The 1st School Toilet Award pilot and launch
The first authority to pilot and launch the School Toilet Award is Sandwell, near Birmingham. Joanne Almond, Healthy Schools Co-ordinator for Sandwell, invited schools via the electronic notice board to take part in the 1st pilot of the Award. The response was “phenomenal”, with many schools keen to take part. Five schools were selected and each school received an assessment visit.
Pupils in each school were involved in carrying out the audits. Typically:
The award requires high standards in quality of facilities and requires access to toilets at all times. At the beginning of the pilot, it was unsure whether any of the schools would reach the required standards. The schools, however, were determined to do so. All five schools found funding to turn around their toilets and achieve the Full School Toilet Award. This was a tremendous achievement.
“The award has proved a HUGE success with schools and has in particular helped with our engagement with pupils. We have trained over half the school councils in Sandwell, and all they seem to want to discuss is the state of the school toilets. We realised toilets are a major concern. This award provides school councils with a framework for improvement. We have so far presented five schools with the award and have had interest from many more. Press interest has been incredible, appearing on the front cover of our local paper and in national publications. As the scheme is self-certificated for schools, it is minimal work for the healthy schools team once established. It also provides us with endless amusement. We have now included the School Toilet Award in our suggested evidence for the emotional health theme. It also links to the healthy eating theme.
Teachers might laugh at the award, but it’s really highly valued
by students. Empowering students is what we have enjoyed most about implementing
the School Toilet Award. It’s a big win and a really good way of
involving pupils in improving things for themselves. When the awards were
presented the children were delighted with what they’d achieved.”
Ofsted values School Toilet Award
Ofsted mentioned the award in its written report, following its most recent inspection of Manor Foundation College (previously House School). “We were very impressed with the work of your pupils’ councils and the impact these have had in the school, in particular in achieving the ‘Bog Standard’ Award for the toilets.”
The School Toilet Award was initially called the Bog Standard Award,
but was renamed in response to feedback.
All five pilot schools achieved the GOLD School Toilet Award:
Manor House School College (secondary)
Case study: Manor High School Foundation Business,
Enterprise and Sports College
During the pilot
"The 1st school to achieve the GOLD Award is Manor Foundation.
I am absolutely delighted as their toilets were in a dire state last year
and the school council has helped to turn things around. I have visited
the school and you could now live in those toilets!!"
"I always hate restricting pupils' access to the toilets. When I
joined the school, we opened them during lessons but had big problems
so closed them again. The school worked hard to reach the standard required
to achieve the Bog Standard Award and the pupils were very actively involved
throughout this process, largely through the school council. The toilets
are now open throughout the day and this is no longer a problem. In fact
it's been a great success. It shows that if you involve the pupils in
creating good quality toilets, then the pupils will look after the toilets
and respect them."
The school council took the decision to install a CCTV camera in their newly refurbished toilets, with immediate results.
"It's reduced anti-social behaviour to nothing; graffiti to virtually
nil, and the pupils themselves now feel confident about going into the
For ways to improve pupils’ toilets, see the What you can do page.
Back to the Water, toilets
and health page