Public toilets

A bit of pressure and collaboration with school might help to get the toilets opened

Schools all over the UK prohibit students from leaving class when nature calls, so what can you do if your school toilets are locked during lessons?

Pupils with 'toilet cards' can go to the loo when they need to but first have to get a key from reception, which might involve a long walk which their bladder or bowel might not be able to 'hold on' for. And what do the girls do when they suddenly feel their period coming on whilst in class?

Unfortunately, there's no law stopping schools from locking toilets during lessons. But that doesn't mean they should do it. Banning toilet breaks shows a severe lack of understanding of pupils' health needs and a massive lack of respect for the student population.

What can you do if your school decides to lock the toilets? 

1. Try contacting the schools regulator to raise the issue for them to check at their next spot visit. They may look unfavourably on the school's policy and encourage the school to change it.

2. Talk to your school council, they can raise the issue with the school governing body.

3. Set up a petition to get the school to reverse the policy and get backing from students and parents.

4. Approach your local press, they may cover the issue and put pressure on your school to reverse the policy.

5. The main reasons why schools lock toilets during lessons is because they fear students will go to the toilet to skip classes and because of the disruption that is caused during lessons. Get pupils at your school to pledge not to abuse their right to go to the toilet during lessons if it were reintroduced. This might reassure the school that allowing pupils to go to the loo won't cause disruption.

If you're campaigning to get your school to re-open the toilets during lessons, we'd love to hear your story. Send an email to [email protected] 

Click here for more information about best practice in relation to toileting in schools.