Schools: Sanitation

Department for Education written question – answered on 17th March 2020.

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Photo of Lord Lucas Lord Lucas Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is their policy for schools to provide separate (1) changing rooms, and (2) toilets, for boys and girls; whether all or any of such facilities can be gender neutral under their policy; and what action a parent can take if a school is in breach of any such policy.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The department publishes advice to support schools in England to meet the standards set out in school premises regulations. For both maintained schools and academies (including free schools), the regulations state that suitable toilet and washing facilities are provided for the sole use of pupils. It also requires separate toilets for boys and girls aged 8 years or over to be provided except where the toilet facility is provided in a room that can be secured from the inside and that is intended for use by one pupil at a time. Suitable changing accommodation and showers should be provided for pupils aged 11 years and over at the start of the school year who receive physical education.

The department’s advice indicates that schools should take into account the age, number and sex of pupils, and any special requirements they have, when determining whether provision is suitable. It also advises that where there is unisex provision of toilet facilities the privacy of the occupant needs to be ensured, for example, by having adequate enclosure and a full height door.

We trust schools to work with parents to determine what is in the best interests of pupils, where there may be concerns. In the rare cases where this is not the case, parents should register their complaint by following the school’s complaint policy.

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