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School toilets.... locked!

(86 Posts)
Oldgreymare Thu 05-Feb-15 10:06:04

As there are a couple of 'school threads' at the mo' may I start a third.
My great neice is upset. She is concerned that, during lesson time, the toilets in her sec. school are locked. It seems it is in an attempt to stop bullying or bad behaviour. She is terrified of 'having an accident'.
I feel that the school needs to review its Bullying Policy rather than impose such draconian measures.
I know there are 'hot spots' where bullying occurs but there must be a better way of dealing with this, random patrols for example.
She needed a great deal of cajoling to attend school recently did see the school counsellor and has been given a 'pass' allowing her to visit the loo when she needs to.
Identifying a child as different, in this way, could also cause bullying.
I am not sure that this is a solution to the problem and would rather see access to the toilets be given to all pupils at all times and the school re-examine itsBullying Policy.

Teetime Thu 05-Feb-15 10:24:49

I remember this being the case when I was at grammar school more years ago than I care to remember. I think it was thought we were up to no good as soon as we were out of the classroom- I think we probably were- smoking, wagging of lessons etc. It certainly was still the case when my children went through senior school.

Not sure how your issue can be resolved though and I do see your point re your GN. Could she perhaps be allowed to use the staff loo? Sorry not to be more help never having worked in a school. I hope this doesn't affect her adversely.

Mishap Thu 05-Feb-15 10:30:08

I am sure that this is not allowed. I am a school governor and there was once a discussion about how children should always be free to go to the loo as they wish and need to. A bit of an overreaction by your GN's school I think.

Her parents could write to the governors requesting that the loos be open at all times.

Anne58 Thu 05-Feb-15 10:34:19

If a shop has a problem with shoplifting, do they close down the shop so that theft can't take place? Of course they don't, they take sensible steps to control the problem, such as having security guards to be on the lookout for any wrongdoing.

Maybe not the best analogy, but I'm sure you get my drift!

merlotgran Thu 05-Feb-15 10:43:16

Bullying shouldn't be taking place in toilets during lesson time because the kids should be in the classroom so it seems an odd thing to do. Lunch break is when the vandalism/bullying/smoking causes problems.

I used to be mightily relieved not to have a toilet block on my patch when I was on playground duty. hmm

soontobe Thu 05-Feb-15 11:19:57

Speak to other parents first.

It is far easier to approach a school when you know other parents think as you do, than to do it alone. They can also come up with reasonable solutions too.

rosequartz Thu 05-Feb-15 11:28:21

I am sure this should not be allowed on H&S grounds (sometimes it can be useful).

POGS Thu 05-Feb-15 11:29:23


My DGD very often gets upset about this too. She always rushes to the loo when she comes home, yes I know she could go before coming home, I think she has been so brain washed by her teachers she doesn't use them as a normality. She very often says she had a pain in her tummy because of this Dickensian attitude.

I don't think the toilets are locked, I never thought to ask but I will.

Her school 'does not allow' children to go to the loo during lessons . They are 'instructed' to go before leaving home or break times! This makes me so b----y mad . I have to say I also blame the parents for not standing up to the Head, I would.

We have noticed that her drink bottle hardly gets used and whilst she is only 8 years old we think she is not drinking through worry. Actually I think I will have another go on this matter with my DD but I fear she will say leave well alone, the Head is not an approachable woman.

Anne58 Thu 05-Feb-15 11:36:29

soontobe that's a good idea re the other parents, a united front, so to speak.

POGS do you think that might work in you DGD's case? Even the most "unapproachable" Head would surely have to take notice if there were several parents saying the same thing.

Or of course your DD could always raise the matter with the School Governors.

Mishap Thu 05-Feb-15 11:40:15

POGS - I am a governor at a primary school and I can assure you that the school is not allowed to refuse a child the use of the loo if they need it and they have to supply water for drinking.

If this is what is happening it is quite wrong and your DD needs to get several parents to write to the governors. It is simply not acceptable, particularly at primary level, when these small people will have varying degrees of bladder size and control.

annodomini Thu 05-Feb-15 11:58:02

A comprehensive where I was a governor installed CCTV cameras in the toilets, though obviously not in the actual cubicles. I don't think there had been bullying going on, but there had been some vandalism which was curbed by the presence of cameras.

J52 Thu 05-Feb-15 12:05:53

in the v large upper school that I taught in we had a (female) toilet attendant for the main toilets, who had a key to both male and female toilets. Students had to have a pass, given by the teacher, to visit during lesson time. It worked well and was worth he extra personnel costs.

In other buildings smaller toilets were 'policed' (keys held) by individual departments.

I was lucky to have a personal WC in my collection of rooms, if there was an issue with a particular student I made that available. x

POGS Thu 05-Feb-15 12:23:17

I think I am definitely going to tackle this with my daughter again.

It's one thing to say go to the governors but they are showing signs of keeping her happy, she is a very dominating person.

I dread awaiting the possible response but here goes. Would anybody think it cowardly to report the school to the authorities, ANONYMOUSLY?

J52 Thu 05-Feb-15 13:13:53

I think you will be taken more seriously if you do put your name to your letter. I would write a letter rather than an email. You could get someone to help you compose it or read it through if you are concerned that it might sound antagonistic.
Then if you get no response you could follow it up with an e mail cc'd to governors/ head/ education director, as appropriate. Good luck x

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 05-Feb-15 13:18:03

I think children can be a little bit funny about only wanting to use the home toilet. I would ask her why she doesn't go at break times. Don't push it though, of course.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 05-Feb-15 13:18:37

that was to POGS btw

Mishap Thu 05-Feb-15 13:28:15

I run a huge community choirs project and the children involved are always wanting the loo during rehearsals - it seems to be infectious - one goes and then they all have to trail off! The adults keep rolling their eyes in exasperation! One girl even wandered off for a wee in the middle of the concert with 300 singers and an audience of over 1000! - she just strolled off in front of the soloist!

I do now encourage them to wee before they sing; but it does not always happen. It is irritating, but we cannot know whether or how much they really want to go and cannot possibly forbid it.

FlicketyB Thu 05-Feb-15 13:47:45

Quite often when you know you cannot to go to the loo you keep getting the urge to go.

When I was a child we went on a journey in Malaya where we were not allowed to stop between two towns over an hour apart because of the terrorist danger. My parents made my sisters and I go to the loo just before we left the first town. 15 minutes into the journey we all started wanting to go to the loo. When we reached our destination we were all desperate and disappeared into the loos. The actual amount of urine we produced was very little. The fear of needing to go was parent of the need.

Soutra Thu 05-Feb-15 13:51:06

When I first went back to teaching 27(!) years ago I did a fortnight's supply at a local comprehensive that had a very free and easy reputation, no uniform, kids used staff first names etc but the staff loo was kept locked and you had to get the key from the tea lady in the staff room. Did that, but found loos were actually unlocked when I got there however I was careful to lock up after I had finished. Enjoying a coffee shortly afterwards I saw a woman teacher come into the staff room looking very dishevelled complaining loudly that she had had to climb out of the (first floor) window and jump down on to the grass because " some blankety blank idiot had locked her in the staff Ladies".
Oops blush. I have never owned up to that up until now!

soontobe Thu 05-Feb-15 14:02:30


POGS. There is, or certainly was when I was a primary school governor, a certain procedure to follow.
Basically speak to the child's teacher, then Head of Year if there was one, then Head, then write to school Governors, and then the LEA.

So even if you wrote to the LEA, and say the school Governors were not aware, the problem would first be sent back to them to try and sort.

I think that in your case, your DD, with other parents if they are willing, would be best off writing to the Chair of School Governors, and see what he or she says.
If there are a number of parents involved, the issue will not be quite as easily brushed away.

vampirequeen Thu 05-Feb-15 14:53:08

An 8 year old can't be expected to always go at set times. I had a poster up that said:

Before you ask me if you can go to the toilet ask yourself:

Am I sure I'm desperate and not just fancying a change of scenery?
Can I wait until the important input section of the lesson is over?

If you then decide you definitely need to go to the loo just ask? If you're really desperate and I'm busy with someone else just go and ask a friend to tell me you've left the room.

I never had a child abuse this. In fact I think my class went less in lesson times than most other classes lol.

goldengirl Thu 05-Feb-15 17:04:26

There is an organisation called ERIC - I can't remember what it stands for - and while it is mainly concerned with child in continence and bed wetting it also is involved with schools. Might be worth taking a look?

POGS Thu 05-Feb-15 18:13:28

golden girl

Oh dear she doesn't have continence issues. Oldgreymare and myself are concerned about our children being refused the opportunity to go the loo.


I actually like that and I will offer that as a trial for the school, headmistress might just ignore me but there you go.

I certainly think 8/9 year olds would understand the meaning of the words.

rosequartz Thu 05-Feb-15 19:12:28

Soutra grin

I really don't understand some of these posts.

Unless a child has a problem with incontinence then I think that he/she, at least past the age of 5 or 6, should be able to hold on for a reasonable length of time so that they do not have to 'dash out' in the middle of lessons.
As for the passing a motion, I was always encouraged by DM to try to do one every morning before going out to school. It becomes a routine in the end and at least a parent knows if a child is 'regular'. If there is a problem with diarrhoea then should that child be in school that day?

If, however, the child does have problems then I am sure the school would be sympathetic if the parent goes in for a chat about it.

Some children don't like using the loo when away from the home and can tend to 'bottle it up'. I know that one primary school we went to look at for DD had outside toilets, not very nice at all, and she adamantly refused to go to that school at the age of 6.

annodomini Thu 05-Feb-15 19:46:29

My DS2 had bowel surgery, followed by a temporary colostomy when he was 2. He became quite squeamish about bodily functions and even when he was at secondary school, he would jump on his bike and come home to go to the loo - even though he had lunch at school. He didn't like the condition of the school toilets. Now middle-aged, he hasn't changed much.