What is normal in secondary school re: using toilets?

(40 Posts)
LynetteScavo Thu 26-Jun-14 21:46:02

DS1 recently had his induction day to high school (same school DS1 attends)

DS2 was surprised he wasn't allowed to use the toilet when he put up his hand to ask.

DS1 explained to him no one is allowed to go to the toilet during lesson times, and the toilets are locked by the caretakers. If someone really needs the toilet they have to go to the office and ask for the key.

DS1 has no problem with this. DS2, now he knows the rule will have no problem with this, as I have produced DC with bladders of steel.

(DD who is still only 8yo will probably have a problem with this psychologically, but that issue is obviously years away! grin)

So I can see it would an issue for some....just wondering if this is normal in high schools?

ThinkIveBeenHacked Thu 26-Jun-14 21:48:23

Definetly not the.norm in any secondary school I.know of and would make me look elsewhere.

(1) what kind of things have happened to make them so draconian? Seems rather than deal with that theyve locked the loos
(2) as the mum of a dd I would hate to think of her flooding her san pro and not being able to get easy permitted access to a loo to sort herself out

HoneyBooBooChild Thu 26-Jun-14 21:49:55

Not allowing pupils to go to the toilet during lesson time is quite usual, as it prevents bunking off/vandalism/bullying etc and it's also a waste of lesson time. Most pupils are free to go in between lesson changes. However i've never heard of the toilets being locked before - that must be so much effort on the schools behalf.

picnicbasketcase Thu 26-Jun-14 21:55:46

DS (year 7) tells me that at his school, if they need the loo during a lesson they ask the teacher, who then writes a note in their school planner giving them permission to go, in case another teacher sees them in a corridor and asks why they're not in their lesson. Never heard of toilets being locked, that's just cruel.

Pinotgrigioplease Thu 26-Jun-14 21:56:38

Discouraged to go during lessons here but in reality if you really need to go you will be allowed.

BertieBotts Thu 26-Jun-14 21:56:43

In my secondary school 10 years ago it was absolutely normal and it was horrible. Toilets were locked at break and lunch times except for the last ten minutes of each. Frequently they forgot to unlock them at all, and they had sadistic prefects on duty at lunchtimes preventing you from going to the "wrong" year group's toilets because you of course quickly got to know which were unlocked and which weren't. I remember one of my friends being in tears telling a prefect that she really needed to change a tampon and they laughed at her but then let her go (but not the rest of us confused) You could go during lessons but of course you had to ask and the teachers would get annoyed about it.

It was supposed to prevent smoking in the toilets and vandalism and bullying. It was brought up several times in general discussion but they didn't change the policy.

Dragonlette Thu 26-Jun-14 22:04:48

I've never worked in a school where the toilets have been locked during lesson time, but we always discourage pupils from asking during lessons. They have break time and lunchtime to go to the toilet and they can generally go in lesson changeover as long as they leave lessons promptly and don't dawdle. Every school I have worked in has some system to allow pupils to the toilet if necessary, mostly cards in case they are found roaming the corridor.

MaureenMLove Thu 26-Jun-14 22:05:53

Completely normal here too. Lessons are only an hour long and unless a student has a toilet pass for medical reasons, they are not allowed to leave the room.

bananananacoconuts Thu 26-Jun-14 22:07:50

I wonder if your dc go to the school i work at Lynette!! That is exactly the procedure at our school.

LynetteScavo Thu 26-Jun-14 22:09:45

Hmm....I can see how it would prevent smoking/bullying/vandalism/truanting....but I don't think it's that kind of school. (I am very, very happy with the school in every other way..this just seemed rather odd)

DS1 was howling with laughter while recounting a time a pupil was locked in the toilets for an entire lesson, when the caretaker didn't realise he was in there. hmm

Smartiepants79 Thu 26-Jun-14 22:15:07

Never heard of the loos being locked but even in my primary school I actively discourage children above the age of about 8 to go during lessons.
Unless they have a medical reason (which I would know about) I would expect a child to be able to wait and hour before needing a wee.
I do let them is they ask more than once but I would mainly expect it to be unnecessary.

sinningsaint Thu 26-Jun-14 22:37:37

My DC's school go through phases of locking the toilets during lessons, it's not that kind of school, but now and again a few boys might get silly at one break time and throw wet paper towels at the ceiling, or the girls will leave the floor covered in crushed pringles boaks at thought of eating in the toilet. These stay in place for several days at most really though as it is so much hassle, and diaries are just signed the rest of the time, although going to the toilet during class is generally discouraged with pupils having to ask several times before being allowed (apart from if the teacher can sense a girl needs to change sanpro).

BertieBotts Thu 26-Jun-14 22:41:15

What do you mean by that kind of school? I'm pretty sure teenagers smoke, truant, vandalise and bully in every school in the country.

The vandalism was mostly wet paper towels on the ceiling to be fair. Or they used to throw them as missiles into a closed cubicle, so they landed on someone's head/lap which was hilarious apparently confused

BertieBotts Thu 26-Jun-14 22:41:56

And of course in TV school dramas the toilets are never locked because it's mandatory that pupils must be able to access them at all times to give birth to surprise babies grin

tiggytape Thu 26-Jun-14 22:43:52

DS1 was howling with laughter while recounting a time a pupil was locked in the toilets for an entire lesson, when the caretaker didn't realise he was in there.

That doesn't sound too great in terms of fire regs either!!
Why are they locking them at all? It is one thing to restrict going during lessons but why do they need to be locked up?

Lessons are 40 minutes long here, children and adults grin are expected to go between lessons or breaks.

A break is every 90 minutes.

m0therofdragons Thu 26-Jun-14 22:51:07

Dd is 6 and not allowed to use the toilet in lesson time! (I did have an issue with this in reception when dd was told she couldn't go and wet herself... first accident since before she was 3). Not an issue now though. By secondary they should be in control. Toilets are places kids gather and cause mischief... where I work we regularly had smoking and even paper towel fires, and I work in quite I nice school! Ours aren't locked but I can see why a school would.

m0therofdragons Thu 26-Jun-14 22:55:18

Haha, just read the "it's not that kind of school" comment. I presume it has teenagers in it in which case it will have an element of these things. I went to a"posh" girls grammar and girls smoked and drank alcohol (usually baileys as it looked like milkshake to our naive teachers - this wasn't very regular an occurrence).

whathaveiforgottentoday Thu 26-Jun-14 23:09:24

Yes, I've worked in secondary schools where toilets had to be locked due to some rather disgusting and frequent vandalism. The only way to stop it is to lock them when they can't be supervised. I've known this to happen in 3 out of the 5 schools i've worked in and they are fairly normal 'good' schools.

Xcountry Thu 26-Jun-14 23:19:19

It was sort of normal in our school (way back in the 90's) not to be allowed though girls got to go for time of the month reasons etc. At our school Smoking was always going on in the toilet but also incidents of drinking, fighting, vandalism , drug taking and sex. There was normally a janitor or prefect 'patrolling' for this reason and if you were out you had to have a note.

noblegiraffe Fri 27-Jun-14 00:02:55

My school's toilets have CCTV outside them which has mostly solved the vandalism issue.

Still get kids bunking off lessons and hiding in them though.

BackforGood Fri 27-Jun-14 00:04:40

Fairly normal not to be allowed to go in lesson time (unless a medical need) but I can't imagine any caretaker I've ever know being happy at having to go round locking and unlocking the toilets several times a day shock !

clary Fri 27-Jun-14 00:34:39

I don't let students go to the loo in my lesson. Reason is that once one does, there is suddenly a stream of them. Kids walking in and out is somewhat disruptive to my leading a lesson or any of them learning much.

Also I take the view that they need to learn to go when they can - ie at lunch, break, before they get there, at the end of the day, between lessons if need be ... I have to! Seriously, who needs to go for a wee more than once every hour and a half? Might help if they didn't have a water bottle constantly attached to their lips...

Obv in the case of medical need it's fine, but those kids (eg diabetic, one kidney etc) are on the register and have a card. I had a parent complain to me the other day, but the wind was taken out of her sails a bit when I pointed out that the only lesson where I teach her child is right after break. Did she really need to go twice in 3/4 of an hour???

sausagedog12 Fri 27-Jun-14 06:00:06

A very bright girl in our class sat in our English class one day, suddenly yelped 'miss' and urinated everywhere. The whole class was in uproar. It turns out she had been too frightened or embarrassed to ask before and suddenly it was too late....
The kids never forgot the issue and she was the brunt of many jokes for the rest of her school years.

Youarejustwordsonascreenpeople Fri 27-Jun-14 06:42:25

Wow! They don't even have doors on our toilets. The cubicles obviously have them but there is a sort of dog leg to get into them and it is all open.

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