new rules re: lunchtime and toilets!

(53 Posts)
fostermumtomany Wed 05-Sep-12 17:59:58

My son and daughter returned to school today after the summer hols.
upon arrival they were handed a list of new school rules. two of these rules are:
lunchtime: 20 minutes to eat, then outside for 10 minutes exercise.
no re-entry to the building under any circumstances. They are literally locked inside for the 20 minutes eating time then once outside they have a small area to play for 10 minutes.
they have been told that if they want to go the toilet, they have to go on the way to classes, if they are then late for class, they will be given an hours detention after school.

the problem is is that if they are all waiting for the loo on the way to lessons, they are going to be late!
they are not allowed to go during lesson time, or at morning break. only after lunch on the way to lessons.

is this against some rule somewhere? surely they cannot dictate when kids can pee or not pee?!

kids have also been told that if they become unwell during the schoolday, they will not be sent home. they will be placed in a quiet classroom with a teaching assistant and will carry on with their work in a quiet environment.
im debating whetehr or not to remove my kids from this school.
i get that some kids will be messing about and ruining it for other kids, but it seems to be very very unfair to tarnish all the kids with the same brush and make them all suffer.

they are now getting a total of 10 minutes break in the morning, 20 miniutes to eat and 2 minutes to play at lunch, thats it.
is there anything that we, as parents can do about this?

admission Wed 05-Sep-12 18:13:27

This does sound somewhat draconian but i wonder whether the school is trying to take a hard line with pupils just at the start of the school year to get them in the right frame of mind.
Can't see the rules around when pupils can go to the toilet lasting long before they fall into disrepair. It is clearly not practical.

MrsRobertDuvallHasRosacea Wed 05-Sep-12 18:20:49

Have you actually seen the list?

I know teenagers are prone to exaggeration.smile

i would contact the school in the first instance in a calm way, before moving them.

OhYouGreatGreatBritain Wed 05-Sep-12 18:24:16

what happens with upset tums, or periods? sounds very unreasonable.

fostermumtomany Wed 05-Sep-12 18:28:02

yes the list has been seen by myself. i have to tell you fb is in uproar lol!

the thing with the toilets is laughable, its as if they are damned if they do and damned if they dont.
as for having periods and weak bladders etc... the school could not care less.
i mean my son has had serious bladder issues in the past, infections that have had him in hospital for weeks at a time (from birth) so it is extremely important that he be aloowed to the toilet as and when required and they are aware of this. however when he brought it up to his head of year he was told the rules apply to everyone and there will be no exceptions. my son got a bit of an attitude then and told his head of year that "my mum wont be happy" and the teacher told him that mum can always move him to a different school if she isnt happy!
im not happy by the way!

MaureenMLove Wed 05-Sep-12 18:40:37

I think you need to make a call tomorrow, to understand why this has been done. It sounds pretty crap on the face of it.

And as for not letting DS use the facilities, with a doctors note to say he must use them whenever, is very, very, wrong.

cricketballs Wed 05-Sep-12 18:45:00

From a general point of view (as a secondary teacher) it is very common for students to not be allowed to visit the toilet as and when they feel like it; it is a good excuse for students to miss lessons, hang about with their mates and waste a lot of time. As it is secondary, they (unless medical, which I am sure if you contact school with a valid medical reason) should be able to hold themselves long enough not to have to go in lessons. Periods etc are not an excuse as I have never had to run out of a lesson I am teaching to go the loo.

The morning break issue I don't believe is true; have you got this in writing or just your dc's say so?

The illness issue sounds like they have had a problem with a lot of students saying they are 'ill' in order to go home; by saying that they will have to sit with a teaching assistant on their own will ensure that only those who are really ill will complain.

From your post, it sounds like the school have had big problems last year with toilets/lateness/illness and they are coming down hard on everyone - not a bad thing IMO

getmeoutofthismadhouse Wed 05-Sep-12 18:49:38

I don't have children of this age but this is actually unbelievable and you might not be the only unhappy parent thinking of moving the children schools and with it all the schools funding will be quite literally going down the loo too .
I have seen a few people on fb ranting about secondary schools this week , maybe they are trying to get tough but it goes a bit far when it regards children going to the toilet . Surely it goes against your human rights being stopped from going to the loo when you need to ?? This rule isn't going to end well !

EvilTwins Wed 05-Sep-12 19:05:22

I have to say that I agree with cricket. Unless there is a medical issue, there is no reason a secondary age child cannot manage their toilet breaks. If I'm teaching, I can't nip out to go to the loo. Primary is different, but if a 14 year old can't figure it out, then there's a problem.

fostermumtomany Wed 05-Sep-12 22:42:07

let me give you an example.
my friends son has cystic fibrosis. he spoke to his head of year today about the illness and going home issue. he was told that it applies to every pupil. unless they need an ambulance, they will not be leaving school. his mum rang the school and they confirmed it. now this is all well and good but....last year they sent my son home from school a total of 16 times because of minor issues. e.g. he hit his thumb in woodwork and bruised his nail. they sent him home despite him telling them he was fine.
the letter sent home does indeed state that "pupils will not be allowed entry to school during break times, if the toilet is needed, pupils must use the toilet on the way to lesson, however if the pupil is late for said lesson, then a detention will be issued for that day totalling one hour".

surely this is not allowed?

as for periods not being an excuse....my daughter has endometriosis, (one of the youngest sufferers in the country) so she bleeds extremely heavily, is she to just sit with blood pouring down her legs? apparently so according to the school.

i have sat and spoken with several other parents this evening. every single one has said their child/ren will not be going back to this school again.

fostermumtomany Wed 05-Sep-12 22:50:51

its not the case of not managing their toilet breaks...its a case of them being unable to go to the toilet. they have been told they can only go to the loo on their way to lessons. now if they are all needing the loo, there will be big queues. many of them will not be able to go to the toilet without being late to class.
if they are then late, they will be punished. in the entire school there are two blocks of toilets. one in the east side and one in the west side. each side has 4 toilets in it. so thats 8 toilets for a school catering to 1000 pupils.
how are they all going to be able to use the loo on the way to lesson and not be late?

Rosebud05 Wed 05-Sep-12 22:54:13

I agree that you need to ring and speak to the school regarding your children's medical issues and needing free access to toilets. If the school aren't helpful, you need to take it to the governors, then LEA.

EvilTwins Wed 05-Sep-12 23:13:06

Legally, schools are supposed to supply 1 toilet per 20 students where the children are over the age of 5. OP, I can tell that you're concerned, but seriously, you sound hysterical and that's not helping you. I doubt very much whether a school with 1000 pupils has only 8 toilets.

As for the other thing- clearly the school can't win. Last year they sent your DS home far too often, now you're complaining that they won't send them home at all. Has is occurred to you that the school may be trying to be helpful here? Being called out of work to collect a child who is ill can be a massive issue for some working parents. Frankly, I'm amazed that the school has spare TAs to babysit sick kids anyway, with all the cuts.

WilfSell Wed 05-Sep-12 23:18:24

If a child has a disability or chronic illness though surely the school must make reasonable adjustments for them, legally? And I'm pretty sure any school would make exceptions for a child with a documented medical need. I think I'm probably with the teachers on this one...

imperialstateknickers Wed 05-Sep-12 23:28:30

At least 2 of the girls in dd's y9 class are going through hell with irregular, sometimes very heavy periods - and that's just the ones whose mothers I know well enough to have this sort of conversation with. There is no way on god's earth they could wait more than five minutes if their menstruation goes off. The mortification of blood pouring all over the floor, smeared on furniture and clothing, in a mixed class - it makes me cringe just thinking of it.

fostermumtomany Wed 05-Sep-12 23:29:43

how do i sound hysterical?

im glad you told me about the toilet ratio.
i used to attend this school as a kid and the toilets then were much less.
on our tour of the school we were told that during the summer hols (4 years ago) more toilets were being installed. this has not yet happened.
regarding sending kids home...my point was that they have brought in the illness policy because the kids are having too much time off through illness, yet they are the ones that sent them home! last year for example, they repeatedly sent my son home yet they then sent a letter stating his attendance was poor and if it continued we would be summoned to the school to discuss it!
its very confusing.
what has really annoyed me though is that they did not inform any one of these changes prior to them being made. all they told us what that they would be changing dinner times so that each year went seperatly to ensure everyone got a meal.
they did not mention the fact that dinner times would be reduced or that the kids would only be allowed 10 minutes outside at lunchtime nor that toilet breaks were going to forbidden during break times as would access to the inside of the building.
there is now a petitionn been started by a few of the mums and one of them has scheduled an appointment with the head tomorrow.
i just it disturbing that they are treating the kids with such distrust. this school has an excellent reputation, always has had, but now it has tarnished it with a few petty rules that were, in lots of peoples opinions, not needed.

omfgkillmenow Wed 05-Sep-12 23:31:56

I get them all to pee their seats in protest, making sure had packed change of clothes and baby wipes first.

WilfSell Wed 05-Sep-12 23:36:51

I still find it VERY hard to believe periods are such a problem to manage at this age. I managed perfectly well with heavy, irregular periods and surely the teachers actually allow girls to leave if this happens. How many ACTUAL incidents of blood smeared everywhere have actually happened - I've never seen one, nor heard of one and I'm pretty old... The first rule of teenage-parenting club is first check they are not lying exaggerating, since mostly, they are...

randomfemale Wed 05-Sep-12 23:42:56

Wrt teenage girls and periods. Pads leak. Pads need to be changed. Not all teenage girls are ready/willing to use tampons (why should they hmm)

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 05-Sep-12 23:50:23

If you have your period you should be allowed to go to the loo whenever you need to.

WilfSell Wed 05-Sep-12 23:52:35

Yes. I do know this. I find it VERY hard to believe that a secondary school have full of teenage girls does not have a way of allowing them to manage this. I'm a big fan of checking the facts. And still, in all my years of menstruating and being around girls/women who do, I have never seen one smeared with blood in public...

Trioofprinces Thu 06-Sep-12 00:03:16

Wilfself

I attended an all girls school and I saw this on a couple of occasions. One particularly memorable one was when a girl went up on stage at assembly to collect something, the back of her dress was soaked in blood and the whole school saw. I don't think she had realised. As soon as she came off the stage the matron quickly ushered her away. The humiliation must have been awful.
The point being that it takes a while to understand/ instinctively feel when you need to change sanitary protection.

TinyDancingHoofer Thu 06-Sep-12 00:07:30

13 years old, non-uniform day, white linen skirt. very hot sticky day, didn't notice i had started. Thank god the girl behind me did, when i stood up. And i have pretty regular non-heavy periods. It happens.

If what you are saying is true OP then the school is being UR but it sounds like some wires have been crossed or someone has sent this letter as a prank because it seems a little unrealistic.

RevoltingChildren Thu 06-Sep-12 00:15:23

I saw it at school. A girl with very heavy periods had to run out of class. Luckily it was a class of all girls

I still have problems. There are two days each month when I have to use the super super orange tampons and change every 3 hours or the green super ones every two hours. Had problems recently on a train journey

This is not acceptable and I would be scheduling an appointment with the head too.

WilfSell Thu 06-Sep-12 00:19:05

OK, ok, it happens. But it doesn't happen a LOT. And I still find it hard to believe secondary schools do not accommodate this. If this school didn't, yes, a shirty letter to the head. But really? No girls with periods allowed to go to the loo during morning break, or with permission during/between lessons? I just find that really hard to believe.

tethersend Thu 06-Sep-12 00:47:11

Is this an academy by any chance?

It's the kind of absurd rules-for-the-sake-of-rules thing some academies are so fond of.

If it is an academy, there will be little the LEA can do.

I'm a secondary teacher, BTW.

Startailoforangeandgold Thu 06-Sep-12 00:48:23

Leave it, moan like mad if it actually lasts past 1/2 term.

It won't teachers have books to mark and coffee to drink.

tethersend Thu 06-Sep-12 00:48:33

I know of many schools which do not allow students to go to the toilet outside of break and lunchtime, periods or not.

This rule sounds even worse.

nameuschangeus Thu 06-Sep-12 00:55:56

These sound very similar to the rules at my senior school. Either outside queuing to go in to lunch, in the dinner hall eating or outside until bell went again. Not allowed back inside the school without written express permission from a teacher (club membership etc)
I don't remember it being a problem. You just adapt your behaviour and habits to suit the rules. I left school in 1984 so it's not a new concept.

RedBeret Thu 06-Sep-12 06:34:38

They will not be banning visiting the toilet in morning break. That is what break is for. I can quite believe the lunchtime bollocks, but morning break without the toilet, no.

schoolnurse Thu 06-Sep-12 10:06:17

"kids have also been told that if they become unwell during the schoolday, they will not be sent home. they will be placed in a quiet classroom with a teaching assistant and will carry on with their work in a quiet environment."
Is this a state school? Im assuming it is and therefore there are no medically trained staff on site all the time. The school _cannot decide_ who is genuinely ill and who isn't if they have any doubt about a child health they have a legal obligation to either seek urgent medical advise or in less urgent cases contact parents and advise them to seek medical advise. In my experience most schools send home children too quickly not the other way round!
Secondly all children suspected of having infective diarrhoea and vomiting have to be sent home form school and must not return for 48 hours following the last episode this rule in my actually usually over applied but it is done to protect all the other children and staff for a variety of reasons not just to reduce sickness but some who may have underlying medical conditions some may live with vulnerable elderly etc.
Your school cannot make a decision about a child's health only a professionally qualified doctor/nurse can do this. Incidentally the Gillick ruling states that all health problems are confidential and can only be shared with the school if the child gives permission for this.
I have no idea who you contact to stop this but I would start with the chairman of the governors copying in the LEA.

tethersend Thu 06-Sep-12 12:17:42

Excellent point, schoolnurse.

schoolnurse Thu 06-Sep-12 12:48:48

In fact refusing a child access to appropriate medical care they need in the event of illness is a child protection issue and contravenes the UN rights of a child.
It never ceases to amaze me that teachers think that they have a right to interfere/know about/make decisions about medical issues of the children in their school bottom line: they don't! Under the Gillick ruling once children are over a certain age this would definity apply to all over 13 yrs old even parents are not technically able to make these decisions and be given information about their childs health information can only be divulged with a child's consent.

fostermumtomany Sat 13-Oct-12 15:05:27

well, i went to see the head teacher and everything we as parents had been told, well it was all true. the head said they had had some issues with a few kids loitering in the toilets at break times so the kids were not being allowed in the building during break times at all for any reason.
i said what about kids that need the loo, he said they must go on their way to lessons. i asked if they were going to have more toilets installed, he said when the budget allowed. so i brought up the student-toilet ratio previously mentioned and he stammered a bit and then said he would speak to the board!
after an hour and a half of talking to him and basically getting nowhere, i told him to bring my children to me. now i must have come across quite insistant as he did as i requested. when my kids arrived in his office i informed him that as of that moment my children would no longer be attending his school, that i intended to home school them until i could obtain a place at a different school and that is exactly what i did. i wasnt th eonly one either. 17 other parents removed their children from the school and now the educaion offic eis investigating.
im sorry but if a c hild needs the toilet i dont see how a teacher can tell them whether they can go or not, nor do i find it acceptable for a teacher to decide whether a child is ill enough to warrent medical advice.
since i removed my kids there confidence has gone through the roof, their grades have already improved and they are much happier. i home schooled them for a total of 2 weeks before they were accepted into a different school in the area. the school is absolutely brilliant. the reltionship between the kids and the staff is exceptional.
thankyou everyone for your input it helped me greatly when i was speaking to the head of the old school. i felt informed and confident.

Frikadellen Sat 13-Oct-12 20:44:39

Thank you for updating and I am pleased you worked it out in a way that has been better for you all.

radicalsubstitution Sat 13-Oct-12 21:06:43

Good for you. As a teacher in a secondary school, I would NEVER send my child to a school with that sort of ethos. The rules speak volumes about the head - obvioulsly totally incapable of dealing with 'issues' such as loitering in toilets in a sensible and practical manner.

gingeroots Sun 14-Oct-12 09:38:36

Well done OP ,that must have taken guts .

No doubt Eviltwins /CricketBalls /Wilfself will go on pshawing about why can't they hold themselves/poor school must have had lots of troublemakers /don't believe your children .

So pleased you got your children into a saner school .

seeker Sun 14-Oct-12 09:45:27

Can you link to the press reports of this? I'd love to know what the local paper has made out of 17 families from one school all withdrawing their children at once!

EvilTwins Sun 14-Oct-12 14:27:37

I still don't believe it. Sorry. Where in the country is this school?

There is nothing wrong with expecting children to go to the toilet at a specific time, be that during break or on the way to lessons. The problem in secondary schools is kids wanting to go during lessons - it's disruptive. Unless a child has a medical condition, I don't know of a single school that allows it. It makes no difference whether the "allowed" time is at break or between lessons.

As for the other thing (dianosing illnesses) - schools can't win. Some parents get annoyed if the school doesn't let them know, and others get annoyed if the school does. We had one boy in school last week who vomited almost as soon as he arrived. The receptionist called his mum, and she said that she didn't want to have to get the bus to pick him up as it would cost her. She wanted to school to take him home, otherwise he could stay put. Similarly, one of the Yr 8 girls felt rough after her HPV jab and her mum said we should give her paracetamol and tell her to stop moaning!

gingeroots Sun 14-Oct-12 16:03:11

It's hard I know ( genuinely ) to run a big institution like a school ,but people are people ,they vary and have different priorities .
That's just life ,they're never going to all conform and shouldn't be regarded as an irritant because they get in the way of procedures ,policies ,rules and regulations .

auntevil Sun 14-Oct-12 16:06:33

Good for you fostermum , sticking to your principles.
I have 3 children at Primary school that have medical conditions requiring immediate visits to the toilet. Each 1 of them has had experience of a teacher saying wait until break - including my 10 year old. Going through school nicknamed 'stinky' is no fun eviltwins .
The rule at primary is that for every minute you are out of the lesson, it is doubled and breaktime is lost for that time and the work finished. It stops those that really don't need it. Those that really do, are quick!
At our school we have a ring in all cases for illnesses (primary though). We are not medically trained. Every parent has their own level of response. It is not a teacher's role to decide what the level should be.

gingeroots Sun 14-Oct-12 16:07:18

And when you say " win " I'm guessing you mean " get it right " .

It's not a competition or fight is it ?
More team work ?

EvilTwins Sun 14-Oct-12 16:48:32

At my school (secondary) students who need to go to the toilet for medical reasons have cards, which they can show if they don't know the teacher. Usually though, they just go. No need to ask, no need to interrupt the lesson, no cause for embarrassment.

And yes, I do mean "win". What's "right" for one parent ("thanks for calling to let me know my child is feeling sick, I'll be there as soon as I can to collect her") is "wrong" for another ("can't you just give her a paracetamol and tell her to stop moaning?") It's guess work. It should be teamwork, but it's not.

alemci Sun 14-Oct-12 17:07:50

it sounds ridiculous. i work in a girls school and they can go if they need to even in lessons.

last school, students were meant to go in break or lunch but nature doesn't always work like that and it was at the teacher's discretion. They didn't like teachers letting kids out because vandalism could take place etc.

they should be able to go in lunch or break at any time. not made to wait til going to class. how stupid.

gingeroots Sun 14-Oct-12 18:25:10

Of course you mean "win " ,how silly of me .

EvilTwins Sun 14-Oct-12 19:56:34

My point is that schools can NEVER get it right. No matter what we do, there will be as many parents who think it's stupid as who think it's fine.

gingeroots Sun 14-Oct-12 20:25:21

Of course there will be differing opinions amongst parents about policies - that's life ,that's normal .
The parents ( or the majority of them ) aren't trying to annoy you ,it's not a question of one side winning .

EvilTwins Sun 14-Oct-12 20:31:00

grin Some of them are. Refusing to pick your child up after he has vomited at school because you don't want to have to pay for the bus isn't exactly a valid opinion, is it?

Lots of people on this thread seem to think the OP has "won"- lots of congratulations as if it was School VS The People.

gingeroots Sun 14-Oct-12 20:37:01

Yes that sounds a dreadful ancedote but without knowing the circumstances it's hard to judge ( or should be ) .
Round here two bus journeys would cost just under a fiver and these days that can represent a meal for the family .

I think it was your post that introduced the concept of winning .

EvilTwins Sun 14-Oct-12 20:43:53

Yes, it was my post, but it was a figure of speech, clearly. Sadly no one hovers with medals and trophies waiting to leap out and award them.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sun 14-Oct-12 21:06:20

What is weird about the OP's school is not being able to use the toilet at break time. Surely that is the whole point of break. If there are behaviour problems, these need to be tackled differently. Don't they have staff on duty?

As for lessons, in a senior school, you expect the students to manage a whole lesson. Those with problems should be well known to staff and allowed to go without any questions.

I only let students (without problems) out if the are starting to wriggle, and beforehand, I have to sign their diary for the record. If two want to go, the second one has to wait until the first returns. I am not worried about bad behaviour and put the obstacles in place to keep them in lessons.

Arisbottle Sun 14-Oct-12 21:22:52

I agree it is daft that they cannot go to the loo during break, that is what break time is for .

It does sound like the school has some real discipline problems and I can see why they may want students outside at lunch . The lunchtime is very short as well, which to me suggests a discipline issue .

We officially do not let students go to the toilet during lessons but every now and again I let a girl go, in case her period has started . We have students who need to go for medical reasons and they have a pass. As a teacher when I am on my periods there are times when I have to change my sanitary protection every 30 mins do would have to nip out, otherwise I would have to call in sick, which would be ridiculous .

LocaBillmore188 Sun 15-Sep-13 15:18:47

What year are your kids in? Primary school this is wrong but secondary school I expect it but it is still wrong. If its the the toilet thing your worried about simply do what I did. I have 5 kids 2 in primary 3 in secondary and I think it's wrong with a capital W to stop kids emptying their bladders when they need to so every one of my children has a toilet pass and non of them have medical problems ex my 14 year old he has very mild cerebral palsy. Just go in and ask for one and if they say no then threaten to move them school. All you need to ask for is a pass that says: Due to a parents granted request NAME MUST be allowed to go to the toilet whenever the need arises.
Let me know how you get on! smile

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