A new report on water use in schools reveals concerning statistics about how primary and secondary school children use school toilets.

Of the 152 secondary pupils surveyed, two thirds (65%) said they don't use toilets at all during the school day, mainly because they felt the toilets are dirty and unsafe.

Of the 457 primary school pupils surveyed, 18% said they don’t use school toilets at all, with a further 34% saying they use them just once a day.

Lowered school toilet standards

The Government passed changes to the School Premises Regulations in 2012 making it impossible to legally force a school to provide adequate toilet cleaning and maintenance and sufficient supplies of toilet paper and soap.

While the supplementary guidance to the School Premises Regulations retains a recommended number of toilets and wash basins for pupils, the guidance is not enforceable. Meanwhile, adults’ toilets in schools have to meet clear standards as stipulated in the workplace regulations.

Poor school toilets

School toilets are often unhygienic, poorly maintained and lack privacy. This poses a serious infection risk and can contribute to children developing continence problems. In a previous study, 84% of school staff stated that they believed these health issues would also have an impact on learning.

ERIC and the Paediatric Continence Forum campaigned against changes to the School Premises Regulations, raising concerns that children’s facilities will further decline in the absence of adequate regulation. 

Help for schools

The resources for schools on our 'Right to Go' campaign page can help schools improve toilet facilities and support pupils with bladder and bowel problems.