British Toilet Association: Archived News from the British Toilet Association
Playgrounds scrapped and children to share unisex toilets as schools look to accommodate 350,000 extra pupils
Unisex toilets will be introduced in schools to create more classroom places.
Playing fields will also no longer be an obligation – potentially killing off team sports such as football, hockey and netball.
Grounds will be filled with portable buildings and every spare space – such as store cupboards and sheds – will be used for teaching.
Great outdoors: Schoolchildren could potentially be forced to remain indoor all day if playgrounds are scrapped to accommodate more classrooms. The ‘pack ’em in and pile ’em up’ measures, published yesterday, form part of the Government’s new rules on standards of school buildings.
They paint a bleak picture of education as Britain becomes increasingly overcrowded.
The measures are a desperate bid to find space for an additional 350,000 primary pupils by 2015. The surge is the result of an immigration-fuelled baby boom.
It would cost £4.8billion to build enough primaries to accommodate the influx, according to Department for Education figures. The ministry is allocating an additional £500million for new places this year.
It is hoping schools will expand, creating the need for fewer new buildings, and yesterday’s relaxation of building regulations gives schools the means to do so.
Shared services: Boys could be forced to share their toilets with their girl counterparts.
Previously schools were – with the exception of academies and free schools – legally obliged to provide separate toilet facilities but now both primary and secondary schools will allow unisex toilets with urinals.
The DfE’s new regulations state: ‘A number of schools have provided toilets for use by both male and female pupils over the age of eight, even though this is not currently allowed by the regulation.’
A DfE spokesman confirmed urinals will be allowed under the regulations, provided cubicles, with locking doors, are also provided.
The change means female pupils as young as four will share toilet facilities with 11-year-old boys. And 11-year-old girls reaching puberty, will have to share with 18-year-old males.
Previous attempts to introduce unisex toilets have met a furious reaction from parents.
Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education, a parent group, said: ‘This idea is absolutely crazy. Parents are horrified. Most do not think it should be allowed. It’s very important that young people are not allowed to be pressured by the opposite sex and can retain their modesty.
‘There needs to be a place they can go for privacy. It will be especially horrible for girls through puberty.’
On playing fields, the DfE is seeking to relax regulations so they meet the ‘requirements of the curriculum’ and ‘enable pupils to play outside safely’.
At present, the regulations ‘require that team game playing fields shall be provided which satisfy specified minimum areas based on pupil numbers and ages’.
The new regulations are set to be introduced in 2012.
Daily Mail 4th November 2011 By KATE LOVEYS
Further information from:
Mike Bone, British Toilet Association
T: +44 (0) 1403 258779