|Lobbying March 2009|
Answers to Parliamentary Questions on school toilets
|Further questions asked by David Drew MP in the House of Commons.|
25 Mar 2009
David Drew: (Labour; Stroud): To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will take steps to ensure that primary schools which are rebuilt incorporate the same design standards as secondary schools in the Building Schools for the Future programme in respect of (a) drinking water and (b) toilet facilities. 
Jim Knight (Minister of State for Schools and Learners at the Department for Children, Schools and Families): The Department has already taken a number of steps to ensure that new and re-modelled primary school buildings—including drinking water and toilet facilities—are built to a good design standard. This includes using the Primary Capital Programme website to promote the Department’s existing guidance and to showcase case study examples of good practice.
The Department is aware of the importance of well designed primary school toilets and is continuing to work with its partners to produce case study examples on this. It would not, however, be appropriate for primary school toilets to be built to exactly the same design standards as secondary school toilets.
David Drew: (Labour; Stroud):To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will make it his policy to encourage secondary schools not participating in the Building Schools for the Future programme to allocate funds for improving (a) drinking water and (b) toilet facilities for pupils. 
Jim Knight (Minister of State for Schools and Learners at the Department for Children, Schools and Families):Devolved Formula Capital (DFC) is allocated at school level, to be spent on whichever capital improvement a school considers to be the most beneficial, based on local priorities. Other funds can also be added to DFC, from the local authority and elsewhere, to improve facilities. The purposes for which DFC is used vary widely, from improving drinking water and toilet facilities, to other infrastructure improvement, ICT, sports facilities, even transport such as a school minibus.
Given the wide variety of need, I think it best to continue to allow schools and local authorities discretion in deciding how resources are spent, rather than to steer schools towards expenditure on improving specific facilities such as (a) drinking water or (b) toilet facilities for pupils.
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