Right to Go logoThe Right to Go campaign aims to help education settings support children and teenagers with bowel and bladder problems and to provide high quality and accessible school toilets. In short, the campaign aims to uphold children's right to go to the toilet!

Since the passing of the Children and Families Act in 2014, education settings have a statutory duty to support children with health conditions, including bowel and bladder problems like involuntary wetting and constipation.

Our Right to Go campaign is helping schools to uphold this legal responsibility by providing free resources and guidance on best practice in the management of continence problems. Good school toilet facilities go hand in hand with improvements in care for pupils with bowel and bladder problems. The Right to Go campaign helps schools establish good toilets through the promotion of the School Toilet Charter.

Support for pupils with bowel and bladder problems

Bowel and bladder problems can have an enormous effect on children's ability to excel at school. When conditions are managed appropriately, children and teenagers should not be disadvantaged in any way, but continence problems are often poorly managed in schools. 

In a survey that ERIC conducted in 2013, 72% of young people said their bladder or bowel problem sometimes or always stops them taking part in school activities, 69% said they wouldn't feel able to talk to school staff about their problem, and almost 50% said poor school toilet facilities contribute a little or a lot to their difficulty.

Children and teenagers with continence problems are more likely to be bullied and children sometimes exclude themselves from social situations because of their problem. 

Being cared for and supported in school by staff that understand bladder and bowel conditions ensures children and teenagers are not disadvantaged by their problem.

The following resources provide an essential guide for parents, teachers and healthcare professionals who care for children with continence problems: 

Template Individual Healthcare Plan for pupils with continence conditions

An individual healthcare plan (IHP) is essential to ensure a child’s needs are sensitively and effectively met in education settings and that all people responsible for the child understand their needs.

ERIC has produced a template IHP with input from Dr Eve Fleming, a community paediatrician and Brenda Cheer, a Paediatric Continence Specialist Nurse. The plan was reviewed by a school nurse, a paediatrician, and two families of school-age children with continence problems. 

Download the template Individual Healthcare Plan here.

Continence Management Training for Schools

We run one-day training courses to help school staff manage pupils' bowel and bladder problems. The course has been described as "very useful" and "well worth the money"

Visit our training area for details about the course including the topics covered, the expert speakers and upcoming dates and locations.    

High quality, accessible school toilets

It's in the best interests of pupils and schools to maintain clean, hygienic and pleasant toilets. Open access to high quality toilet facilities is crucial to pupils' health and wellbeing. Good toilets can also have a positive influence on pupils’ willingness and ability to learn, their behaviour, morale and attendance levels. 

ERIC's School Toilet Charter outlines the standards of toilets that all schools should provide.

Below are some of the problems associated with poor school toilet facilities:

  • Medical conditions such as chronic constipation, wetting and urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be caused or aggravated by the avoidance of, or limited access to, school toilets.

  • Many pupils avoid using the toilets at school because they are dirty, smelly, lack basic provisions, are not private enough, or because they're not allowed to go to the loo when they need to.

  • Some young people limit how much they eat and drink to avoid using the school loos. Not drinking enough water during the day can cause and aggravate problems with the bladder and bowel. It can also lead to dehydration and lack of concentration. This, in turn, can result in poor academic and sporting performance.

Download ERIC's School Toilet Charter here.

Improving school toilet design

Well-designed and attractive toilets demonstrate respect for pupils. With the right design, layout and choices of finishes and fixtures, school toilets can be attractive, safe, durable and low maintenance. Open, bright and attractive toilets will encourage pupils to value themselves and their facilities.

The 'Toilets in Schools' guidelines, published by the Department of Education in 2007 show how toilet design can be improved to address a number of common failings in school toilet provision and includes strategies for effective maintenance and operation of toilets.

If you work at a school or education setting and have used some of these resources to improve the toilet facilities we'd love to here from you. Email [email protected]  

Sample School Toilet Policy

A written school toilet policy indicates to pupils and parents/carers that the school values and respects the welfare of its students by fulfilling their right to go when nature calls. A school toilet policy shows that all school staff follow the same approach to school toilets and their access. It means pupils know when they can use the toilet and aren't left worrying whether they'll be told off if they ask to go during a lesson. It encourages schools to audit the toilets properly so they don't deteriorate over time and it ensures pupils' needs are taken into account.

Pupils should be actively involved in creating and implementing the policy. It should be approved by pupils and governors, communicated to the whole school and reviewed each year.

Not sure how to start writing a policy? We've done the hard work and produced a template school toilet policy for you. 

Download the template school toilet policy here.

Advocacy support for parents

The ERIC helpline can help you improve the support your child receives at school. Our helpline staff give rights based information that you can use to press for better care and/or better school toilets.

The 'toileting best practice at school' page of our website has information about legislation relating to supporting children with bladder and bowel problems in schools and about standards for school toilets.

Parents have shared with us their experiences of getting schools to provide better care and toilets. You can read their stories on our Parent Stories page.