What parents can
There are lots of things that parents can do to help improve pupils'
toilets. The Bog Standard website has a range of resources to help, including
a wide range of factsheets, letter templates, a poster and information
on how to contact people like your Local Education Authority or MP.
Bear in mind that schools have limited
resources. They may not be aware of the problems, or of the long-term
health effects of poor toilets and inadequate access. A friendly approach,
working together and offering solutions will be much more effective than
criticism and conflict.
Involving your child
- Ask your child about their toilets, so you can be sure of your facts.
When are pupils allowed access to the toilets? What sort of state are
the toilets in? Is there enough privacy?
- Your child could do a survey to find out what other pupils think
about the toilets. The pupils' section of the Bog Standard website has
a survey template.
- What does s/he think should be done about the toilets? Does s/he
have any suggestions or ideas?
- If your school has a school council, encourage your child to ask
his or her representative to speak at the next meeting (and all subsequent
- If s/he wants to, your child can organise a petition amongst pupils.
A petition form is available in the pupils' section on the Bog Standard
- Schools are most sensitive to comments when you’re a prospective
parent so always ask to be shown the pupils' toilets when you make a
visit – and comment on what you find.
- Ask prospective schools when children are allowed to visit the toilets.
- Regularly take a look at the pupils’ toilets when you're in
school/picking your child up. It's a good idea to ask permission from
a teacher and have them escort you into the toilets.
Talking to teachers,
the head and governors
- If access to toilets is restricted, raise the issue of access with
your child's teacher and follow this up with a letter.
- Raise the issue of pupils’ toilets calmly and politely with
the headteacher and school governors (ask them to visit the pupils'
toilets – some governors may never have done so).
- Contact the school nurse to ask if s/he can talk to the school about
this issue (the school office can give you contact details).Maintenance
and replacement costs need to be considered.
- Talk to other parents – what do their children think?
- Tell your school about the Bog Standard campaign and/or this website
The web address is www.bog-standard.org.
- Put up a poster/flyer/leaflet with the headteacher's permission.
A poster is available from the pupils' section of the Bog Standard website.
- The government is providing record funding for improving and building
new secondary and primary schools over the next few years. Now is the
chance to focus on toilet design. In primary schools, encourage the
school to consider providing toilets (single toilet or two toilets –
one for girls and another for boys) with each classroom (or classroom
cluster) so that access would be from the classroom and under supervision.
In secondary schools, encourage the school to consider smaller groups
of toilets and to look at our page for Designers and Architects.
Working with pupils,
teachers and other parents
- Find out what your PTA is doing about the pupils' toilets.
- Suggest the PTA fundraises to improve the toilets.
- Seek permission to form a working party with pupils to paint the
toilets, put up colourful tiles, create a mural – initial, cosmetic
changes can help raise morale and encourage pupils to look after toilets
in the short-term.
- Tap into the skills and contacts of parents and governors to make
Enlist the help of the Children’s
Encourage your child to write to the office of their regional Children's
Commissioner. It is their job to help children. It is best if your child
writes, but you can write on behalf of your child, or in your child's
name. Children's Commissioners may not be able take up individual cases,
but can write to your child's school if the issue being raised has wider
implications for a larger number of pupils. They don't have the powers
to force a school to change, but they can:
If you are in Wales Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- write to the school for you, if you give them your school's address.
Don't worry - they won’t reveal your or your child’s name!
- write to your Local Education Authority
- help your child write to the head teacher, your Local Education Authority
or Board of Governors
If you are in Northern Ireland Email email@example.com.
If you are in Scotland Email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are you in England Email email@example.com
- About every three years an inspection team
from Ofsted inspects your child’s school. The school will know
this about two to three days before the inspection.
- As a parent of a child at the school, you
will be given a questionnaire to fill in. This is an ideal opportunity
to mention the school toilets and raise your concerns.
- You can also mention any concerns with drinking
water provision and access.
- Now included in Ofsted inspections is “the
extent to which the provision contributes to the learners’ capacity
to stay safe and healthy”.
- You can write directly to the chief inspector,
whose name and contact details should be provided by the school.
- The more parents mention the toilets, the
more the toilets will be taken seriously.
- Appeal for sponsorship to fund refurbishments from local businesses
through an open letter to readers in your local paper or approach businesses
- Invite sponsorship of a full-time toilet supervisor and cleaner.
Write an open letter to readers in your local paper or approach businesses
- Talk to the headteacher about any funding opportunities available
through the LEA or from the government.
- Discuss the issue of funding for the toilets with the headteacher
and then with his/her backing get the governors to inspect the toilets
and make improving them a priority in the next year’s budget.
- If you have any disabled pupils, schools now have to have the correct
facilities. This could mean getting a refurbishment carried out by your
- For more ideas, have a look at the funding and fundraising factsheet
Petitions and letters
- If, having done all this, or having failed to get the staff on side,
you consider that the school is not taking toilets (the state of them
or issues of access) seriously enough, why not start a petition, or
encourage the pupils to do so?
- Write to the Secretary of State for Education
and Skills at Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P
3BT. He or she has the power to direct schools to meet regulations.
- Encourage your child to write to their regional
- Send a lobby letter to
- the school's headteacher
- school governors
- your local MP
- your Local Education Authority
- the Department for Education and Skills
- the Department of Health
You can get letter templates from the Bog Standard website and can
adapt them to cover the precise issues that affect your school.
There are also letter writing tips and how to contact people.
- Write to the Department for Education and
Skills (DfES) to ask them to bring the Education (School Premises) Regulations
1999 in line with The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations
(1992). This is also the place to write to for complaints about schools
not meeting the standards - which for pupils is limited merely to the
number of toilets and washrooms per pupil. The address is: School Premises
Team, DfES, Caxton House, Room 762, 6-12 Tothill Street, London, SW1H
9NF. Email Premises.School@dfes.gov.uk. For more information about the
law on toilet provision for adults and for pupils, look at the legislation
factsheet on the Information section of the website.
- Write to your local paper.
Talk to us
- Share your experiences on the Bog Standard website – we post
some of the comments that we receive unless you ask us not to.
- The more people that talk to us, the more support we will have for
- It would be useful if you could send us a copy of any replies you
receive from your lobby letters. Contact us by email or post.
You can telephone us on 0117 960 3060.
You can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can write to us at:
34 Old School House
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Toilets for Pupils