Girls loos in school used as a "throughway"

(22 Posts)
TychosNose Wed 05-Oct-16 14:38:03

Not sure throughway is the right word but I know of a secondary school where one of the major routes around the school is through the main hall.

During times when the hall is being used (assemblies, pe lessons, dinner time) the traffic is diverted through the girls toilets. So the whole school traipse through the loos between the cubicles ans wash basins.

I feel really uncomfortable with this. Seems like a real lack of privacy for the girls. I'd hate it if my male colleagues could be directly outside the cubicle whilst I'm changing my tampon for eg.

Would you do something about this? What should I do?

TantrumsAndBalloons Wed 05-Oct-16 14:40:47

Whilst it doesn't sound ideal, people are just walking through aren't they?

Presumably anyone changing a tampon would be in a cubicle not in full view of whoever walked by and no one would know or care what anyone was doing

TychosNose Wed 05-Oct-16 14:44:33

Well yes the cubicles do have doors. you don't think it's a problem then?

IAmAPaleontologist Wed 05-Oct-16 14:46:14

I think it is a problem yes, the girls should be able to have privacy in the loos.

TychosNose Wed 05-Oct-16 14:47:23

Would you contact the school to complain? Or the LA?

AmeliaJack Wed 05-Oct-16 14:47:53

I think that's an extremely poor design, how did anyone ever sign off on that? I wouldn't be happy with that.

I'm not sure what could be done about it though without remedial building work.

Pootles2010 Wed 05-Oct-16 14:47:57

What? That's insane! Who the hell planned that? It doesn't sound safe for a start! No I really wouldn't like that, although I appreciate it wouldn't bother some.

Pootles2010 Wed 05-Oct-16 14:48:54

Well you could put some new loos elsewhere, and turn the loos into a proper hallway?

Matildatoldsuchdreadfullies Wed 05-Oct-16 14:49:57

I think it might even have some positives - I remember girls' loos as being hotbeds of bullying. There was more than once when I needed the loo but didn't want to go because of a gang of girls making unpleasant comments, and in one or two cases physical threats/actual assaults.

This was nearly 30 year ago, and I think schools have improved... but I certainly wouldn't be fussed if my dds had this kind of set up at their school.

TychosNose Wed 05-Oct-16 14:50:15

I think it's a very old building that has been modified many times.

Why is it unsafe?

I thought it was insane too. When I first realised I had to walk through the girls loos I was in disbelief!

TychosNose Wed 05-Oct-16 14:52:10

Yes it may have positives. In another school I know, two girls were seriously sexually assaulted by a group of boys. Probably couldn't happen in these loos because they're too public.

Pootles2010 Wed 05-Oct-16 14:55:18

It might not be, I just wondered if there was a fire, evacuating lots of people through a small space...

olderthanyouthink Wed 05-Oct-16 14:56:12

My primary school was like this abut the cubicles were round the corner so you could see only a could cubicles as you walked through and all the sinks were were you walked passed to get in and out of the playground.

Tbf, we were mostly prepubescent so no at bad.

OlennasWimple Wed 05-Oct-16 14:56:43

It sounds pretty bonkers. But presumably the school have considered the alternatives, and completed a full risk assessment of the plan, and concluded that it's better than the alternatives...? (Personally I would ask the school why they felt that compromising the girls' privacy was the best option available and see what they say, and go from there)

TychosNose Wed 05-Oct-16 15:01:36

Maybe I'll quietly ask a couple of teachers about it before I approach the head.
IMO a better solution would be to lose a strip of the hall and turn that into a corridor but maybe there's a reason they can't do it.

BarbarianMum Wed 05-Oct-16 18:02:42

At our local secondary all toilet areas are open plan. All toilets areas contain cubicles marked male or female (with floor to ceiling walls and door, so private) but are open to the corridor - you can see right in.

It seems to work - no loitering or bullying.

TychosNose Wed 05-Oct-16 18:38:53

Ok maybe it's no big deal then.
I just felt weird because I'd never normally go into the children's toilets.

FirstShinyRobe Wed 05-Oct-16 18:44:35

Seems like a crazy situation, regardless of sex.

TychosNose, just out of interest, did you start this thread in Feminism Chat? Or ask it to be moved? My mind might be playing tricks on me.

TychosNose Wed 05-Oct-16 19:13:39

I started it in feminist chat.

IAmAPaleontologist Wed 05-Oct-16 19:38:06

I think it is one thing having unisex or open plan style toilets but quite another where you can have anyone legitimately walking through a closed child's toilet area, not just other pupils but staff and visitors.

ChipsForSupper Wed 05-Oct-16 22:16:18

I think it comes to something when toilets have to be designed to help prevent poor behaviour and bullying. (It is for similar reasons that school breaks and lunchtimes have been shortened dramatically over the years and, thus, the length of the average school day reduced.) Wouldn't it be amazing if, instead, bullying behaviour was addressed.

As for using toilets as a hallway - how utterly unpleasant for all concerned. Horrible for girls who have no privacy (OK, you can't see but you can hear and you can observe how long the person is in there for - great for self conscious teenagers and an excellent method for any potential bullies, who are looking for sensitive reasons to pick out their victims, to use) and horrible for those who have to traipse through what can be a very smelly area.

This is also systematic of how people in schools are no longer treated as people who matter but as bits of data. There is unlikely to be an Ofsted tick-box which examines how comfortable or vulnerable girls feel in their surroundings - so no-one needs to bother about it.

erinaceus Fri 07-Oct-16 05:43:30

My first thought was that it sounds unhygienic for the people traipsing through the toilet-as-corridor, but maybe the school toilets of my memory were particularly disgusting.

I am not sure that complaining would be my first step. I think I would start with an enquiry as to who approved of this as a set-up, and as to whether there are alternatives. Another suggestion would be to start a conversation with the girls who have these toilets as an option available to them. They might not be that bothered, or they might come up with problems that you have not even thought of.

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