Parents of children at Chalkwell Beach Infant School in Leigh On Sea have reacted angrily to a decision by the headteacher to ban all pupils from using the toilet in lesson time – some of them are as young as four years old.
According to headteacher Dr Bethany-Louise Adderson, the ‘regrettable’ new policy has been introduced because of a combination of factors including lost contact time, staffing costs and health and safety concerns.
She told our Chief Reporter that other schools will follow suit within 3-6 months. She said: ‘We calculated during the first week of the new term that each pupil spends an average total of 15 minutes every week using the toilet during lesson time – this is having an awful impact on their education.’
‘When a pupil is excused during a lesson, a chain reaction usually occurs among our very young children and suddenly everyone needs the toilet. Our teachers are finding it impossible to plan lessons around these persistent absences.’
‘On top of this, we also have to send one member of staff with each child who needs the toilet, and this is starting to cost the school serious money as we have been forced to recruit an extra four teaching assistants since we returned from the holidays.’
‘Health and safety concerns have also pushed us into this decision. A reception child fell into the toilet last week when he wandered into the staff bathroom by mistake and nobody found him for an hour and a half because the class teaching assistant was busy helping another child with their reading.’
‘We understand that children can find it tough to hold it in until break time, lunch time or home time, but if they start practicing now their bladders will reap the benefits in their adult lives.’
‘As a trial measure, children who start to show signs of desperation will be allowed to dance around on the spot for up to 30 minutes – this will also contribute towards the Ofsted-issued guidelines for daily physical activity.’