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School Toilets Good Practice Guide published by Welsh Government
The guidance is designed to inform local authorities and school governing bodies of their roles and responsibilities in ensuring that school toilets are adequate for children and young people. This includes spreading good practice on improving general toilet facilities while stressing the importance of good hygiene, particularly hand washing.
In the main, it is for local authorities in Wales to provide adequate school toilet facilities. Although the new guidance is not mandatory, the Welsh Government expects it to be used and implemented for the benefit of children and young people in Wales.
The guidance is a joint venture between the Welsh Government’s education and health departments along with local authorities. Representatives from the office of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales were also asked for their views. Importantly, the guidance takes account of the opinions of pupils on their own school toilet facilities and how they would like to see them improved.
Education Minister Leighton Andrews said:
“We want to ensure that our young people have access to high quality toilet facilities in their schools.
“We know that this is an important issue for them, and I expect local authorities and other stakeholders to take this onboard and implement the thorough advice and guidance we’ve provided in this new document.”
Health and Social Services Minister Lesley Griffiths said:
“Following the Pennington Report we’ve taken the issue of school toilet facilities and hygiene extremely seriously. The new guidance is just one of three documents that have been developed to raise the profile of hygiene in schools, and other education and childcare settings. We want to ensure that children and those responsible for them are informed and supported to use the facilities hygienically and effectively. “
Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler said:
"Regrettably, children and young people continue to talk to me about the toilet facilities in school – they have a right to health, dignity and respect. This is not a trivial issue and the least we should expect from a society which values our children and young people is that we afford them the same standards as we expect as adults.
“I want all duty bearers, including schools, school governing bodies, local authorities and Welsh Government to monitor progress and ensure that we see improvements through this guidance. It’s also important that children and young people’s views are continually sought as we seek to achieve positive change on this important issue."
Jenny Perez, Director of Education and Resources for Improving Childhood continence (ERIC) said: Good toilet facilities for pupils are vital for health and wellbeing.
“ERIC’s Bog Standard campaign has been working to improve school toilet facilities for many years and it is fantastic to see good practice guidance documents like this put in place.”