|What is Bog Standard?|
|Bog Standard is a campaign which aims to: |
• To increase public awareness of the health and learning benefits to children of improved toilet facilities and access in schools
• To raise the standard of provision and access to pupils' toilet facilities in all schools nationally
• To ensure that UK and EU regulations adopt and enforce acceptable minimum standards for access to and provision of drinking water and toilet facilities for all pupils in school
Bog Standard is organised by ERIC – Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence. Find out which other organisations behind Bog Standard on the About us page.
|Why the big deal about school toilets?|
|Many adults don’t realise how bad some school toilets are. Problems experienced by pupils include:|
• Dirty, smelly toilets
• Toilets in a bad state of repair
• Broken seats, doors and toilet roll holders
• No or inadequate supplies of toilet paper, soap and hot water
• Lack of privacy – doors that don’t lock, cubicles that can be peered over or under easily, and/or urinals that can be viewed from outside the toilet area
• Bullies and/or smokers hanging out in the toilets
• Restricted access to toilets – only being allowed to go at break or not enough time allowed to go
• Toilets inconveniently located and/or not accessible to pupils, including those with special needs
|Isn’t there a law against that?|
|No. Teachers, as employees, have the right to clean, properly-maintained toilets. We think pupils have a right to the same standards, but there is no specific law saying they have to. |
|Does it really affect children’s health?|
|Yes. Unpleasant toilets mean pupils won't use them. Often, they aren't allowed to go to the toilet when they need to. Not visiting the toilet can lead to bad bowel and bladder habits, which in turn can cause short-term and long-term health problems. It also means they will avoid drinking water during the day, which results in dehydration. This can cause tiredness, lack of concentration and constipation, and can lead to other health problems. Children might drink most of their drinks when they get home, which increases the risk of bedwetting. |
Read more about water, toilets and health.
|How can things be improved?|
|In several ways, including:|
• Raising awareness
• Improving school toilet design
• Improving cleanliness and maintenance of school toilets
• Monitoring and inspecting the standard of pupils’ toilets
• Allowing pupils to go to the toilet when they need to
• Having laws that set out the same standards for pupils’ toilets as already exist for adults‘ toilets
• Involving pupils in any refurbs and management.
• Making low-cost initial improvements that help make the toilets nicer to use e.g. funky toilet seats; soft absorbent toilet paper; colourful murals.
Read ‘What you can do’ for ideas and resources on improving school toilets.
|Where can schools obtain funding?|
|Many improvements are concerned with policy changes and involving the pupils in how their toilets are run. Some improvements will be cheap to implement – such as fixing locks to doors or supplying adequate soap. There are improvements that will cost more money, especially if toilets have been left to deteriorate, but Bog Standard has provided a factsheet with some suggestions on possible sources of funding and fundraising. |
There is no specific funding for school toilets, but a bit of creative thinking may pay off!
Go to the factsheets page.
|How can I help?|
|Have a look at our ‘What you can do’ page for ideas, and tell other people about Bog Standard.|
Go to the What you can do page.
|How many toilets should schools provide for pupils?|
|The Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999’ for England and Wales specifies the minimum number of toilets (and washbasins) that pupils must have: |
• Pupils over 5 years of age: 1 toilet for every 20 pupils *
• Pupils under the age of 5: 1 toilet for every 10 pupils
• In special schools: 1 toilet for every 10 pupils, regardless of age
Pupils’ ages are defined on the day before the start of the autumn term. E.g. if a pupil is 4 on that day, but turns 5 a few days later, the regulations would still count him/her as a 4 year old for the rest of the academic year.
The accompanying guidance also states that more toilets may be needed if pupil visits are confined to periods of peak use.
Note that urinals count when calculating numbers.
For more information look, at printable factsheets 'Legislation'
* The requirement in Northern Ireland for pupils over 5 years of age is 1 toilet for every 15 pupils.
|Where can I find colourful and funky toilet seats to fit infant toilets?|
|We get asked this question a lot! Colourful and funky toilet seats are a great way of brightening up and making the toilets more user-friendly - and pupils love them. Do Google searches for colourful, funky or novelty toilet seats. They may be less long lasting than normal school ranges*, but they are relatively cheap to renew - and a whole lot more welcoming and fun! Unfortunately we have not been able to find any that fit infant toilets, despite contacting all the members of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association. Armitage Shanks, one of our major sponsors, manufactures infant toilet seats in white or red, which is the only exception we could find to the ubiquitous black seat. |
Please ask manufacturers to produce fun and colourful seats! We get told that there is a not enough demand, that they are not robust enough, and that schools and PFI's would not want to pay for them.
Request infant-sized ones too so manufacturers realize there is a demand!
*Several schools have now told us that they have found no difference in the durability or robustness of the fun toilets seats to the regular toilet seats.
|Why do you suggest CCTV cameras in toilets?|
|CCTV cameras are best used when all other options have been tried and failed. The advantage with CCTV cameras is that they may allow toilets to remain open that would otherwise be locked due to fear of vandalism and misbehaviour. They may also make pupils feel safer - pupils who would otherwise avoid using the toilets. Bullying can take place anywhere in school but one of the hotspots is the toilet where it can occur undetected. CCTV cameras are a highly contentious issue and it is difficult to get the balance right between protecting safety and protecting privacy. We would urge any school to try out alternative options first, to ensure appropriate privacy (ideally cameras are sited outside main entrances/exits to toilets and washrooms), and to consult widely and conspicuously with pupils and parents. |
What are the alternative approaches to CCTV cameras?
• increasing feelings of ownership by involving pupils fully in the monitoring and management of toilets
• consulting pupils over any policies on toilet visits
• allowing a more humane policy on toilet visits (from our postbag, we see that restricted practices upset and anger pupils - which encourages antisocial behaviour)
• investigating the root causes. Misuse of toilets may be symptomatic of poor toilets or even of wider issues within a school. Communicating with the pupils (perhaps initially via questionnaires) may help reduce toilet problems
• discussing issues of toilet behaviour, privacy and respect with pupils
• encouraging peer pressure to respect toilets and fellow pupils
• maintaining high quality toilets and repairing any damage promptly
• playing classical music (can calm and deter lingering)
• better toilet design – such as, avoiding corners to lurk in; mirrors at sinks so that pupils can see if anyone is behind them
• smoke detectors - connected to the school office
• recorded entry systems
• a set of unisex toilets (unisex toilets have been shown to improve behaviour and deter lingering)
• employing a full time toilet attendant (mixed schools would require one set of unisex toilets for an attendant to monitor) Read a case study about school toilet attendants.
• cracking down on those who abuse the toilets
Read School Management - Combating school toilet abuse and vandalism
|Where can I find out about your School Toilet Award?|
|Sorry, it's rather hidden away at the moment in the Healthy Schools page! We are continuing to pilot it with some Healthy Schools teams and making improvements to it as we get feedback. We have changed the name from the Bog Standard Award to the less contentious School Toilet Award and have three levels: Silver; Gold; Gold with Distinction. We hope to launch it nationally through Health Schools. In the meantime, if a Healthy Schools team is interested in joining the award scheme they just need to contact Nickie Brander through the ERIC offices.|
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