The state of school toilets across the UK is to be surveyed by members of the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA), as "many are in an unhygienic condition".
The CPHVA is also concerned about the fact that schoolchildren are not drinking enough water in schools and this could lead to hydration problems. Access to fluids being an absolute necessity for children with certain health conditions.
The move follows the CPHVA’s AGM when members called on the Department of Education and Skills and its counterparts in Scotland,
Wales and Northern Ireland to improve the cleanliness and hygiene of school toilets.
The motion demanded that local education authorities (LEAs) and schools be instructed to upgrade toilet facilities with ‘ringfenced’ cash.
There should be national guidelines and a timescale for this work.
The CPHVA’s Professional Officer for School Health and Public Health, Pat Jackson said: ‘The anecdotal feedback we have
received from our members is that many are in an unhygienic condition and lacking basic facilities, such as adequate provision for handwashing– and this concern was reflected at our AGM.’
‘We are reaping the effects of years of neglect. Dirty, old, run-down toilets are breeding
grounds for germs, which, in turn, could effect the health and well-being of pupils and students. School nurses report that children
are refusing to use school toilets during the school day, which could have serious health implications.’
‘To ascertain the exact state of school toilets we will be surveying our school nurse members in the New Year at the start of the
Easter term and using the results to lobby government and LEAs.’
The CPHVA’s AGM also wanted government to promote a ‘Water is cool in school’ campaign as a priority, because of the
proven benefits to health of good levels of hydration.
Pat Jackson said: ‘Access to fresh drinking water is non-existent in some schools and we want schools and LEAs to make
sure that there is an adequate supply, whether it is a drinking fountain and/or the provision of water coolers.’
The CPHVA represents more than 60% of the UK’s 2,500 school nurse workforce.