Dear [name of MP, e.g. “Mrs Bloggs”]
Bog Standard – Better Toilets for Pupils
[Explain who you are, e.g. parent of a Year 7 pupil or health professional]. I am concerned about the affects of substandard school toilets on children’s health and welfare, and I am writing to request your help in tackling this.
Many adults are unaware of the extent of problems surrounding school toilets, which are faced by pupils every day. These include:
Many pupils will not use, or are reluctant to use the toilets at schools because of these issues. This can lead to poor drinking and toileting practices which can result in a number of health problems:
1. Not drinking enough and becoming dehydrated can cause headaches, fatigue and poorer concentration as well as bladder and bowel problems, urinary and kidney infections.
Providing high quality, well-maintained toilets should be integrally linked to the National Healthy School Standard programme, particularly its emotional health and wellbeing theme, and the Healthy Living Blueprint. As the DfES and DH are responsible for the NHSS, I am sure that you will want the issues of decent pupils’ toilets to be properly and fully addressed. “If you get the toilets right, you get the teaching right.” (David Miliband, The Guardian, 06/07/04)
The Building Schools for the Future programme, which aims to replace or renew all secondary schools in the next 10 to 15 years, offers the opportunity to improve toilets in secondary schools at no further cost. Future designs for improvements of schools need to highlight the importance of the design and location of pupils’ toilets (and drinking water). The Exemplar Designs published by the DfES need to offer leadership in design through specific recommendations, such as:
Adults in the workplace, including teachers, have the right, in law, to a clean, private toilet with hot and cold running water, and soap. Pupils have no such law to protect them. I believe that not allowing children access to a private, well-maintained toilet and not allowing them to go when they need to is an infringement of their human rights.
The inspection of pupils' toilets also needs addressing. As the provision of toilets and washrooms impacts on children's willingness and ability to learn, it seems appropriate to include the inspection of pupils' toilets (condition, suitability of location, and number of toilets) in Ofsted's role. It would appear from the Framework for Inspecting Schools (2003) that there could be provision for considering toilets under the following areas:
I would like to see children’s rights to good quality toilets protected by legislation and enforced by inspection. I respectfully ask you to do one or more of the following:
• Write to the Secretary of State for Health
I would appreciate being kept informed of your progress on this matter and can be reached at the address above.
Thank you for your attention. I look forward to hearing from you.