Valerie calls for better school toilets

Valerie is working with children’s continence charity ERIC and the Paediatric Continence Forum (PCF) in a campaign to establish better standards for school toilets and washing facilities.


Valerie said:


“I am horrified that the Government proposes to remove regulation of school toilets and washing facilities in the Spring. Pupils’ facilities are already held to lower standards than adult employees’.  I am concerned that any relaxing of the regulations could have serious implications for children’s education and health.


“On 20 December 2011 I tabled an Early Day Motion calling on the Government to rethink their plans.  On 1 March 2012 I asked the Leader of the House for a statement from Education Secretary Michael Gove.  The Leader of the House said he would raise the issue with the Secretary of State for Education and ask him to respond to me.


“As adults we expect the facilities in our workplaces to be appropriate and hygienic.  We should demand the same for our children.”


ERIC and the PCF presented Valerie with a petition in the form of a giant toilet roll, signed by over 1,000 parents, children and health professionals calling on the Government to rethink their plans.


Director of ERIC, Jenny Perez said,


“Bizarrely, teachers’ toilet facilities are protected in law but there are no minimum standards—no bog standard—for pupils’ toilets. Schools are not even obliged to provide soap or toilet paper. Now the government wants to cut the one regulation there is—the minimum number of toilets per number of pupils.”


“School toilets affect children’s physical and psychological health. Inadequate facilities pose an infection risk and can cause children to avoid going to the toilet, which leads to continence problems. Getting the School Premises Regulations right will improve health outcomes for all children including those with continence issues.”


Valerie’s question to the Leader of the House can be read by clicking here.


MPs have been supporting the campaign by signing parliamentary motion EDM 2561 tabled by Valerie.  You can read the EDM by clicking here


The petition is online at the following link:


A survey carried out by ERIC and Netmums in November found:


  • 25% of pupils said they avoid going to the toilet because they are dirty
  • 31% of pupils said they had toilets with broken locks
  • 19% of pupils avoid drinking so they don’t have to go to the toilet
  • 53% of parents felt their child does not drink enough at school
  • 91% of parents thoughts pupil toilets should be cleaned twice a day or more
  • 91% of parents thought that cleanliness/condition of pupil toilets should be a priority for schools