AIBU to think this toilet design is madness in a secondary school!(93 Posts)
Male/female open plan toilets in a secondary school! AIBU to think this is a crazy design? I could be wrong, but it looks like a recipe for disaster to me.
I have worked in several schools with similar toilets. They reduce bullying in the loos and mean kids can't hide there during lessons. They also make them very easy to police. Thus reducing vandalism
So IMO you are being unreasonable
Really eltshT? Well in that case IABU. I just thought it would be a nightmare from a privacy point of view, but if it works to reduce bullying then it is a good thing.
I think they are good. You don't have to go through a door to get to them, so the dc can't hang about in there as there is no amperage room.
I hate going into the toilets in schools as it makes you feel a bit seedy somehow.
I think they sound like a brilliant idea, I hated the toilets at school. Girls and boys aren't a different species.
Never seen this before, it looks like a great idea. I hate the fact that if pupils disappear off to the toilet and are of opposite sex they have evaded you! Plus they are often used for hiding in during lessons and bullying.
I clicked on that thinking open plan meant no cubicles. I often dream about busting for a wee, and the cubicles are open plan or shared!
Looks like a good idea to me tbh, the school toilets were never a good place when I was at high school - full of cliques and intimidation.
This might stop them become territorial.
I don't mind the open plan aspect, but would be uncomfortable with unisex loos especially as a teenager.
I guess it would also stop smoking in toilets which seemed to be the #1 activity wgen I was at school. Someone even started a fire in a bin once by accident, and the toilets always stank of smoke and were horrible places.
We have had them toilets in new builds across Merseyside for about five years.
The toilets don't cause problems, as such, but the open plan design does.
Teachers have lost control of the school many times and have to phone the police, whilst locking themselves in the staff room. With no adults present attacks have then happened.
The open plan design means that it is eaier to access the fire alarms, without being seen or stopped. Mant schools have had to put people on fire alarm guard and have some CTTV installed.
Th eoffence for tampering with a fire alarm comes under the "prevention of terrorism" Act, this is the offence the teens are charged with.
There have been many a parent who has then been devastated when they realise that it can mean cancelling that years holiday, you cannot enter the US for five years.
The colour scheme has had to be changed from the original design, it wasa nightmare for any SN pupils, or anyone affected by colour.
There were many aspects of the design that made you wonder if those that came up with it had ever had contact with human children, tbh.
The law also states that toilet areas for male and female pupils over the age of 8 must be separate. separate
It will also make it very difficult for children who are from cultures where sharing facilities is unacceptable.
Moominsarehippos wishes her work places had separate loos
sorry her the link.
The only thing i can think of is that i remember the thought of someone overhearing you unwrap a sanitary towel was excruciating. But if the toilets were in a busy area then noise ought not to be an issue (we used to recruit a friend to strategically use the hand drier to provide cover noise!)
Oh i'm not sure, don't you all remember the utter stink coming from the boys toilets at secondary?
Omg the teachers had to lock themselves in the staff room that's mental
I would have absolutely hated this as a teenager, and would hate it now. Seriously. I can't even imagine who thought this was a good idea (a bloke, probably), and as a parent council member I would fight tooth and nail to stop it if anyone ever suggested it for my DCs High School.
The open plan aspect also means that you can see into every room, including those doing Gym.
It doesn't stop intimidation, with is mainly mental/emotional.
I have used this type of school to do evening classes and as a confident adult wasn't comfy with the lay out.
One of these new builds has just had to close, the standards have fallen to an extent that nothing will improve them.
In some "rough" areas, the design doesn't work well, but these are the areas that are getting them, because of the what funding has to be obtained.
"It will also make it very difficult for children who are from cultures where sharing facilities is unacceptable."
That isn't a problem, because there are plenty of toilets for anyone with a disability.
The one good thing about them, is that they are fully accessable.
They are not working in many areas and that is being covered up.
We needed armed police at one such incident, but that never reached the news .
I'm not sure it's such a fantastic idea tbh. I think girls need some privacy, boys can be very cruel about things like periods.
I think it will bring up a lot of problems, along with girls feeling uncomfortable.
My daughter's school has this type of loos. They are a fairly recent replacement to the utterly grim old fashioned toilets it used to have. The children had been concerned at the 'unisex' angle, but once they were in, they quickly preferred them.
There is more than enough privacy with individual cubicles. Why shouldn't boys and girls can observe each other hand washing, for goodness sake? The open plan design prevents bullying and vandalism and the toilets stay pleasant for all to use.
In my daughter and her friends (15-16 year old girls0 view, they are a good thing.
my dd would be mortified if a boy saw her go in a cubicle, then subsequently heard the rustling of a sanitary towel packaging.
As someone said it would be ok if the loos were busy tho. Yet sometimes dealing with periods can be messy, and you want at a younger age to get sharpish to the taps iyswim.
I would find it embarrassing having to open a sanitary towel in the cubicle knowing there might be a boy using a toilet opposite. I can understand how the open plan will stop pupils skipping classes.
I can imagine the sanitary towel embarrassment, now that Yoni has mentioned it, and I remember at school some girls teaching other girls how to use tampons (coaching through the cubicle door!). I may have to rethink my views...
Also, having the whole school open plan is not a good idea IMO, not only can it easily be taken over by pupils (whereas in a traditional school you can remove a disruptive child and put them elsewhere more easily), but also as humans we have evolved to need nooks and closed areas for security, I'm not surprised that people feel very uncomfortable in such places and probably more on edge and defensive.
It's not clear whether there are doors on the cubicles or not? If there are, I don't understand the sanitary towel embarrassment problem.
I can imagine that there will be a lot more mucking about and bullying/intimidation from mixed groups. Don't forget, it's not just girls who might not want to go into mixed toilets - and if they are such a great idea, why don't we have mixed public toilets?
But what if you want to buy tampax or sanitary towels from the machine? You may feel uncomfortable doing that in front of boys in a unisex handwash area when you're 11.
What if you leak and need to clean up?
What if you need to ask your mate in the next cubicle if that have an tampax?
Where do girls go if they want some female only space away from boys (and vice versa)?
I so prefer single sex loos for so many reasons....
Of course there are doors on the cubicles, but half an inch of plywood doesn't stop the sound of peeling a sticky backed towel from your knickers, the bang of the sanitary bin or the rustling of the packet and since you're not likely to be eating snacks on the toilet it's obvious to the person in the next cubicle what you're doing. Not an issue in all-female, adult toilets but if you're 14 and a boy is next door, well, I would have just wanted to die.
Also what if a girl needs to do a pregnancy test? The more I think about it the more I'm thinking girls really do need their own toilets.
If there aren't any doors, how do you know which cubicles are occupied? <stupid>
Lots more replies and some very different views. I must admit I didn't know this type of design was so widespread now (my children aren't school age yet) and my first reaction was that it was crazy. I remember the toilets being a complete no go area during break time and used to ask to go during class if I was desperate, which wasn't often as I went home for lunch each day. I can imagine the whole experience being very intimidating if boys had been added to the equation too.
I don't know what the solution is, as there certainly seems to be an argument that they are good in some ways and not others. Maybe open plan but single sex toilets? Still retain the ease of policing behaviour, but take out the embarrassment factor for both boys and girls (I believe boys need their own space just as much as girls do).
I certainly think they are an improvement on my school were the toilets were a really intimidating place full of older girls smoking and there wasnt even a sanitary bin in each loo which was highly embarrassing. I basically didn't drink anything during the day at high school just so that I didn't have to use the loo. The sanitary towel aspect could be a bit difficult. Maybe the loos could still be open plan but boys and girls could be at different ends of a corridor or something.
My daughter never used the old loos at school, they were just to grim. She is fine using these - schools are noisy places, you are unlikely to hear peeing, anyway boys don't listen when girls speak so why should they listen to them pee?
My daughter has male friends, is in a mixed group for her DofE -setting up camp next to boys, having to disappear into the woods for a wee. let us not turn our teenage girls into delicate little flowers. Personally, I am all for more, not less, integration between the sexes.
I think a solid wall (glass bricks maybe) would have kept them open plan but separated off girls and boys a bit more.
It would be better for children who were transgendered, either pre-transition or post-transition.
Segregated toilets are very awkward to negotiate for anyone who doesn't "fit" society's definitions precisely.
Sounds like a good idea
Our school toilets were mostly used for smoking and sex
Assuming that although the picture makes it look like the cubicles don't have doors, that they actually do, I think it isn't too much of a problem, as their isn't the ability to peer over the top of them, like you can with a lot of school toilets.
Also assume that there is a separate changing/showering area for sports?
I'm probably way off, or not thinking things through, but why don't the girls who are worried about noises flush while they're rustling around?
I have IBS & it's what I do if I need to poo in a public loo.
We have them in one of our local secondary schools - a lot of girls won't use them as they don't want people to see them taking bags in or hearing the rustling of sanitary packets.... so although I agree it reduces bullying/vandalism/ hiding, it causes problems in other ways....
They have them in DD2's school which is a new build. The teachers also use them (though I think the Head has his own).
The doors and walls are floor to ceiling so there is no likelihood that someone will hear the clank of the sanitary bin or unwrapping of sanitary products.
There are no mirrors either, but the students are not allowed makeup. If girls need to adjust their headscarves etc, their friends help them.
The whole school has been designed with glass walls etc so there aren't places to hide and I believe this does reduced bullying.
A girl was sexually assaulted in the toilets at a local school (not sure if it was my DD's) a few years back, so I think that overall they are a good idea.
Surely if you need armed police to deal with the pupils there are bigger issues than the design of the toilet.
i would have been mortified if I had had to deal with periods at school with a boy in the cubicle next to me. if these toilets are such a great idea, then why do we continue to have separate toilets for men and women in most public places?
But they won't be in the next cubicle - the boys are on the otherside of the washbasins (well, in that picture anyway)
This school is actually in the next town over from me, and I have seen it in the flesh.
The toilets look great, and there is actually a fair distance between the boys and girls sides. 2 sinks and a wide corridor separated the areas. So I don't thing the noise of sanitary wear would travel across. IIRC the cubicles have full doors as well, so that would further minimise.
Although my DS ia only 10 months so I appreciate I don't fully understand the needs of school pupils.
My understanding is that the cubicles are totally separate ie doors and walls go floor to ceiling, precisely to give pupils privacy and prevent people throwing missiles over from one cubicle to the other
From what I've heard, people prefer these toilets once they're used to the idea
Our local secondary has them. I was a bit [shocked] at first. The toilet cubicles are very private though, almost individual rooms. You come out onto a main thoroughfare to wash your hands, yes it is in a bit of an arc shape for privacy but I thought that was a bit public. I hated the loos at school and think that mostly this is am impovement.
I know some parents with children at this school and they are not impressed apparently.
Geez how much noisy do some of you make when you change or sanitary protection if you think a boy is going to hear across the other side of the loos?
The look fine to me and i cant see the big hoo haw about them.
All through my teens I had periods that made it look like I'd slaughtered a goat after going to the loo. I wouldn't have wanted to be washing the blood off my hands in front of boys.
We have these. Miles better, and the kids prefer them.
I appreciate that it seems a strange concept at first, but they got used to it, and pretty quick too.
my (year 7) daughter's school has just replaced their old loos with toilets exactly like this - she much prefers the new ones. I don't see any problems with them.
I work in a new building which also incorporates public spaces, and all the loos are available for everyone to use, including people with disabilities / baby changing.
It feels very equitable, and means that everyone has to join the same queue.
Then wipe them with loo roll whilst in the cubicle before you come out and wash them at the sink. Do people leave a single sex loo dripping blood just because only anotherwoman can see so it doesn't matter?
or take a packet of wipes in with you?
This was after wiping with loo roll. They weren't 'dripping in blood'. They were covered with what is left on skin if you wipe away blood with tissue. I didn't use tampons as an 11, 12 or 13 year old, so this was every time I needed a wee.
If a school has the kind of problems that make this a viable solution I don't think I'd want to use it.
My dd is in a new build school with these. When designing the new part of the school they took some older pupils to Norway (I think) to look at features of their schools, and the toilets were something the students wanted themselves. They do still have traditional loos for those who prefer them.
I think this design is an excellent solution to the problems of bullying that have persisted for years in school loos. By having the washing area open at both ends, there's nowhere for bullies to hide.
I do wish they hadn't reinforced the tired old notion of girls = pink, boys = blue, however.
or a school with no particular issues but swanky new loos!
Guessed before I clicked that this would be about the Lasswade Centre! The old toilets were horrible and were mainly used for smoking or skiving so the new ones are a massive improvement. The closest swiming pool has unisex changing so I honestly cant see the issue.
My oldest ds starts there in August (it is literally a stones throw from my house) and hes not bothered about it.
dingit I get those dreams too! What do you think it says about us
I doubt he would be!
I think it is a good idea to stop bullying and pupils hiding during lessons.
I don't know how but I managed to not go into the toilets EVER whilst I was at secondary school. I don't think I drank much liquid and had a steel bladder.
They were down a corridor and people used to smoke and fight in there it was very intimidating. It was obvious people smoked in there but no one ever did anything.
In fact sometimes I do have dreams about those toilets!!
Good idea imo as long as the walls go floor to ceiling.
Lots of public places/restaurants have loos like this now.
Mrs, you are like Shitbreak in the film American Pie
My school has toilets that open out onto a corridor, but the cubicles are proper rooms with full doors, individual sinks and driers. There is CCTV pointing at the doors so bullying can't go on through the doors.
That reference is only applicable to England & Wales, not Scotland.
The sinks and dryers inside cubicles sound perfect.
I remember being mortified at the thought of other girls (most of who were just congregated in a gang outside applying make-up, not even using the loos) hearing the sanitary towel rustle through the gaps above and below the doors, so it's hardly as though single-sex toilets eliminate this! If there are solid doors and the cubicles are completely sealed I don't see the problem. Plus it will become a much less attractive meeting place so the amount of people loitering around and not using the sinks/dryers will be less.
I can see that sometimes girls do need privacy to clean up hands/clothes after period incidents, but there may well be sinks in some of the cubicles too, especially if they are accessible ones.
yes I am like shitbreak but unlike him I didn't go home at lunchtime, me and my bladder of steel just hardcored it up and waited til I got home!
I have nc as very personal.
I was sexually abused as a child and there is no way I would have been able to go in those toilets. I acknowledge this is very specific to me and my feelings and have no idea if others who had this kind of childhood would feel the same. I was petrified of all males for years, I have had therapy so have improved.
School was my one refuge I told no one what was happening to me, the thought of no other girls being in there at the same time would have petrified me. I would not have always had a friend with me to go in and would not have been able to ask.
I'm guessing this will not have even crossed the minds of most on here this kind of fear cannot be explained. I don't expect people to understand my point of view.
I'm really struggling to understand why anyone thinks these open plan toilets will stop kids congregating or bullying. If you've been inside a High School recently (or remember them from your own time) you'll know that kids congregate anywhere and everywhere. Unless teachers are around, they will congregate and they will bully. An open plan toilet won't stop that - if anything, it will increase, with girls and boys showing off in front of each other.
We have those toilets - slightly different design - there is a central wall with the cubicles backing onto them, so boys and girls do not come out of the door and face each other, but the open-plan-ness is the same - complete with what I euphemistically refer to as the fondue fountain at each end, hot air dryers.
Each cubicle has a smoke alarm; the sinks no longer get stuffed with paper towels and taps left to run or little fires started. the incidence of bullying has dropped dramatically, no one can skulk off for a quick fag 9well they do they just have new hidey holes). The complex is opposite the main office so they are observed going in and out all the time - no truanting lessons, no two to a cubicle and so forth.
Its far far safer for all concerned. The down side is the hot air dryers - we now have a full time cleaner mopping up hand shake drips or the floor would be incidentally awash. But again her presence prevents truanting, bullying, poor behaviour and so forth.
Oh it doesn't stop the boys squeezing their spots in front of the girls or the girls whipping out the mascara at 3pm though - they are quite unabashed at carrying out their ablutions in front of each other despite the office ladies blowing up big pictures of the Marx Brothers in an attempt to stop the fad for big black chunky eyebrows!!!
Maybe that's key - have the toilets facing away from each other? Sounds far more sensible, and gives an illusion of privacy? Love the Marx Brothers pictures
DD(14) just wandered in and I showed her the photo of the toilets and asked her what she thought. Utter horror, was the reaction. I asked her why, and she said that she would be mortified if she had her period, she would hate to have to use the toilets in front of the boys, and she said the boys would think it funny to use the girls side. It's wrong wrong wrong, apparently.
She has 2 brothers btw, and we are very open with nudity etc - she's not easily fazed.
Needing armed police because the teachers had lost control of the school sounds like something from a Stephen King novel, birdsgottafly
How can you attribute this to the design of the toilets?
I was mortified at our Academy Chain partner - they put a set of open plan toilets in the school foyer in a sort of horn shaped semi circle , quite large, one fondue fountain in the middle with what I can only describe as a wall of perspex sheet to give the illusion of a different room - that one piped in music to stop the noise of flushing and unwrapping and dare I say noisy ablutions!
Utterly the wrong place to install the loos however it is a particularly bad school behaviour wise, and it got to the point a pupil had to get, sign for the toilet key from the Head herself .
This would account for why it went into special measures if the Head was acting as the toilet attendant!!
You do sometimes wonder who comes up with these bright ideas? Architects who get slightly carried away with designing the space rather than for the function (as it were ), I think.
I not you, and a rogue ? at the end of the first sentence
Armed police? I think not. I can't speak for other areas but schools have had police offices for a long time now. We share ours with the grammar school - it is simply a means to get an insight into 'stuff' that happens outside school - most kids socialise, they hear things, they know who is doing what where in the shopping precinct.
It's like the old 'beat bobby' - they exert very little authoritarian influence, but have everyones confidence. Worth their weight in gold for gleaning snippets of information. The upside being having a regular known officer within the school, children cease to be afraid and suspicious of the uniform - they are more likely to be open if they have a good solid relationship with the police.
so wait, unisex changing rooms at pools have been pretty much accepted as the norm for years in the UK but toilets are not ok?
As for rustling and blood on hands I felt the same way about girls not hearing or seeing. I didn't have my own private toilet at secondary to avoid this discomfort. I carried wipies and yes, flushed to mask the noise.
Unisex changing rooms are for all ages and are monitored - but the toilets at swimming pools are still single sex. Plus at school, the boys have separate changing rooms and showers (at my DCs school anyway).
I am and that in the 21st century women and girls are ashamed that they have periods and feel the need to hide the fact.
Here in Sweden it's standard for schools to have toilets like this. In fact the only place I've ever been here with separate male/female toilets is Ikea. Everywhere else is unisex.
I used the ones at DC school on parents night. Never gave it a second thought, TBH. Neither do the DC.
In fact my daughter's old school was built in 1641, although I suspect they may have updated the bogs at some point.
I like the look of those loos. Wouldn't worry about using them myself. I can see why some people dont like them but I do think people would get used to them very quickly.
My DS's will have to. That'll be their secondary school in years to come!
<waves to fellow Midlothian-er McPie>
OvO hello have you been past recently, its looking amazing.
Im not sure if thats just the community toilets or if they are through out the whole school but they still look nicer than what they had to me.
The leisure side opens in 2 weeks time so will get to use unisex loos for the first time then.
These work brilliantly in our school. The toilets face the social area, the doors are floor to celling, about half are boy half girl and the hand washing but even has dyson hand dryers. It stops loitering and bullying and not one kid seems bothered by it. On the noise front there are three hundred odd kids in the social area so if someone can hear a rustle they have supper human senses!
I've not been properly past for a while. Just saw a glimpse between houses a few days ago. But will definitely go for a snoop around when it opens!
If I spot a woman loitering in the loos I'll know it's you.
Nah I will be the one constantly in the dance or fitness studio doing one of my 17 classes I do each week (wheres the crazy nutter smiley?). The staff are so used to me now they dont even ask what I'm in for now .
I think they seem like a good idea. I don't have a problem with the idea of unisex toilets...so long as everyone has a cubicle, what does it matter?
My daughter (16 now) will hang on all day rather than go to the toilets at her school,(due to the girls who frequent them) which is far more unhealthy than worrying about who can hear you open packaging.
I think more places should be like this actually. But men would hate queuing up for toilets like women do!!
I find the idea horrible!
Truthfully im a student at the high school in fourth year & im 14!
Im dealing with gender identity issues so the bright pink toilets arent very welcoming for someone who identifies as female but know they are truly male!
The fact is these toilets are connected to the school from the lunch hall to main corridor so whislt everyone is on way to classes others will be using the toilets its like a corridor & room at once! Conecting via the lunch hall were people eat food! Very unhygienic in my opinion tucking into lunch then a nice waft off un cleaned toilets YAY!
Also for girls dealing with periods while all the boys are in the same room wether using a stall or not its kinda weird!
Also i get bullied enough by both male& females constantly in school now if i want to go to the toilet it wil make it worse cos the boys will try to bully me in there aswell & i know it will happen i get bullied enough in all female school toilets & around school now this!
Dingit me too! I thought the first picture was the individual toilets in an open plan hall
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.