A primary school in Southend On Sea has become the first in the UK to install SQUAT TOILETS after parents complained that the existing toilets didn’t reflect the needs of children of varying cultural backgrounds.
From today, both boys and girls at Logg Hill Primary Academy on London Road will be able to choose between existing ‘western-style’ toilets and the new flat platform-style with a sunken base to allow for squatting.
Parent Melanie White led the campaign to get the ten toilets installed at a cost of £75,000 to the local authority, and she told our Chief Reporter that the existing toilets were leaving children of ethnic backgrounds feeling ‘awkward’ and ‘disenfranchised.’
She said: ‘Although my children were brought up in this country to use what we consider to be a normal toilet bowl and seat, we have to remember that there are people in Britain who are used to using a toilet in a squatting manner.’
‘If I arrived in Britain and was presented with the traditional British toilet after spending so many years in a different position, I would quite rightly feel horrified – the values of diversity do not include forcing young children to sit down when they have been brought up to pass a stool in an entirely different way.’
‘Also, if you look online, there are various studies saying that it is a far more efficient way to pass a stool. If we can promote cultural awareness and improve health at the same time then it is a truly win-win scenario.’
Headteacher Collette Brown added that the school had been forced to act after a number of new arrivals created ‘difficult situations’ in 2016.
She said: ‘Like all schools in Southend, we commit to welcoming a number of emergency arrivals for education, and on fourteen occasions in 2016 a member of staff observed a child in distress while trying to use a regular British toilet.’
‘The worst incident happened in December when a six-year-old boy stood on the bowl and then squatted down. He slipped on the porcelain and had to have stitches in his head – we cannot afford to be subjected to litigation in this area and so this is why we have shifted the installation costs from other areas of our budget.’