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The Times reports on campaign to improve school toilets

Published 8th April, 2010 by Neil Nixon

The Times reports on campaign to improve school toilets

The Times newspaper has lent its voice to the Bog Standard campaign, which aims to improve the standard, hygiene and availability of toilets across the schools in the UK. The initiative was launched in 2004 after research suggested that half of all pupils regularly avoid going to the toilet because of inadequate provision of the service, with cleanliness and hygiene cited as a significant factor behind their reluctance.

Mike Bone, director of the British Toilet Association, said: "Poor school toilets are newsworthy and they have a direct impact on the health of pupils. Although many authorities responsible for providing toilets in education care about their pupils and provide them with excellent facilities, we believe that it is not purely a question of cost but commitment to the required standards of provision.”

Some teachers have been found to restrict toilet visits to designated breaks so children have to wait, even though young bladders and bowels often do not function with consistency and can vary from day to day.

This makes pupils vulnerable to health problems such as bedwetting and constipation, while inadequate hygiene in toilets has been linked to the urinary tract infections which affect an estimated 750,000 five to 16 year olds across the UK. Often children can be put off drinking during the day because they don’t want to use the toilet, causing dehydration which can also lead to headaches, lethargy or poor concentration.

Steve Wright, chairman of the British Cleaning Council, confirmed his support for the campaign: “Children deserve clean, safe, well-equipped and accessible toilets, yet many schools are failing to provide this. Poor hygiene in loos can lead to increased infections such as bacterial diarrhoea and Hepatitis A; improving school loos may seem trivial, but it plays a crucial role in pupils' attainment, health and wellbeing.”