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Should girls and boys at age 8+ (Yr 4) be changing for PE together?

(199 Posts)
Jules2 Thu 06-Mar-14 14:12:25

My DD (aged 9.5yrs) has recently told me she feels a bit embarrassed having to change for PE in front of the boys in her class. I hadn't given the matter a thought until she raised it. It's not as if she has much to 'conceal' and she certainly doesn't come from a prudish family - I guess it's just the age she and her peers are at now. There are some quite developed girls in her year and some Muslim girls and boys (but I imagine they just stay in their regular clothes). I'm told the policy is the same for all years - even Yr 6. I mentioned it to the deputy head and this was her response:
''It is school policy to require all the children to change in the same room as this is the means by which the teacher can fulfil their safeguarding duties by monitoring any signs of potential neglect/abuse. We advise any children who are becoming a little self-conscious to wear a t-shirt top which does not need to be removed and, if necessary, their shorts under their clothes.''
I'd be interested to hear from parents and teachers about how this is handled in their schools. Is this a common school policy throughout the UK? It seems not to take into account the feelings of the children and is not very practical - e.g. the idea of wearing shorts under your school clothes on a warm/any day - not very comfortable!
Incidentally, my DD's teacher is male and so is the TA who takes PE and is also present when they change. I don't have an issue with this but it seems a bit odd to think they (or any teachers) are 'monitoring' , i.e. looking at children while they change.

MistletoeBUTNOwine Thu 06-Mar-14 14:15:07

I thought they changed in changing rooms blush
Will ask dd (8)
She has started developing, and I don't think it's appropriate boys and girls changing together after onset of puberty.

OldBeanbagz Thu 06-Mar-14 14:18:44

DS hasn't changed in a mixed class since Y3 though probably wouldn't be bothered. DD would have been mortified at that age.

I wouldn't have thought it would be allowed. Can they not install a dividing curtain in the classroom?

notapizzaeater Thu 06-Mar-14 14:20:19

We change together till year 5.

Nocomet Thu 06-Mar-14 14:22:59

At the DDs small school they had a combined Y5/Y6 class who changed separately. Boys went off to the toilets or a spare classroom depending where there was room. (Girls toilets further down the building and much harder for staff to keep an ear on both groups).

Y3/4 changed together and some of the more developed Y4 girls weren't happy. School said they were too young not to be in sight of the staff.

I don't know if it's changed, it was a bit silly as they were next to top class and could have changed the same way.

Seeline Thu 06-Mar-14 14:24:07

Ours certainly change together in Y5 - not sure about Y6 yet.
I think they should be able to change separately but understand that may cause problems with supervision etc. There is no cloakroom/change area available at our school - one lot could stay in the classroom, whilst the others changed in the corridor, but am not sure that is entirely satisfactory. Wouldn't be possible in Y6 anyway as the Y6 classrooms are separate, and upstairs so no corridor just a staircase.

Cringechilli Thu 06-Mar-14 14:25:48

Ours are 8 and at this age, the boys and girls change in the same room but round the corner sort of thing from eachother. They would certainly not be allowed to watch eachother change.

For the time being, you could get your dd a vest and some pants that are more like boy short type pants to give her a bit more coverage but Yanbu to try and get the school to do something. Like put up a temporary screen for changing. They can stand alone and don't have to be expensive. The teacher could stand by the screen to keep an eye on children both sides of the screen.

Nocomet Thu 06-Mar-14 14:26:39

The whole business seems nuts to me as our junior school was the old secondary modern and we had proper changing rooms. I was a bit shock when I realised normal primaries don't.

They don't have proper gyms, with real stages and two full sized playing fields, netball courts and a long jump pit either.

AnxiousAugusta Thu 06-Mar-14 14:27:14

Ours change separately when in Yr 6. DD is 9 at the moment and, were she to become self-conscious, I'd pull her out of PE lessons.

ooerrmissus Thu 06-Mar-14 14:27:27

Mine change separately for swimming; for everything else it's separate from Year 3. It can't be that hard to keep an eye on two lots of kids surely?

bigTillyMint Thu 06-Mar-14 14:29:16

AnxiousAugusta, please speak to the teachers if/when she becomes self-conscious rather than pulling her out of PE completely.

MirandaWest Thu 06-Mar-14 14:29:24

DS is in year 5 and I'm pretty sure they all get changed in the same classroom. Will check with him.

Jellyandjam Thu 06-Mar-14 14:31:04

I had this issue when teaching year 5. At that point they got changed in the same room and one parent mentioned that her daughter was embarrassed. I was told by the head that there is no actual rule about it and the problem comes down to supervision and staffing numbers. We did find a way around it though. There were some small rooms next to each classroom, normally used for groups and we started to use those. I can honestly tell you also that the teachers are not 'watching' the children getting changed. It's a matter of being present in case if accidents etc. imagine if something happened and it was reported that the children had been unsupervised.

Babiecakes91 Thu 06-Mar-14 14:33:01

In my primary school in Scotland we always had different changing rooms from starting in primary 1, this is the first I've ever heard of boys and girls changing together, my ds is 2 and the school he will be going to has separate changing facility's for both genders x

LumpySpacePrincessOhMyGlob Thu 06-Mar-14 14:37:13

Dd is in year 4 and this seems to be the case in her school too. She isn't self conscious yet but mentions that some of her friends are.

She wears boxer type shorts and hasn't started to develop yet but when she does I'll get her some stretchy vest tops.

Rooble Thu 06-Mar-14 14:37:48

Jules - teachers have always "monitored" (looked at) children when they change. I can remember my dad having to call in some parents about 35 years ago because of suspicious bruising all over a child that was spotted while changing for PE. Turned out he had leukaemia, and had been hiding the bruises from his parents sad.
I'm afraid this is also when they're supposed to spot the malnourished ones.

HeeHiles Thu 06-Mar-14 14:38:38

My dd2 is in yr 4 and some of the girls are already starting puberty - but on PE days they go to school in their kits as the school is very small with no changing rooms available.

I started developing in yr5 and would have been mortified if I had to change in front of boys!

pancakesfortea Thu 06-Mar-14 14:39:08

Ours get changed in the classroom and I remember doing the same. Our school is tiny and bursting at the seams - there's nowhere else for them to go.

I guess kids who are a bit self conscious can wear a vest etc. My own 8 year old would normally choose to get changed in private but doesn't quibble about communal changing at school.

notnowbernard Thu 06-Mar-14 14:41:11

Dd y5 - girls and boys change separately

frogwatcher42 Thu 06-Mar-14 14:42:41

Ours change together until year 6. Then the girls change in the cloakroom where teachers and kids walk by!!!!!

I think it is wrong and should be separate after year 3 imo.

Anniegoestotown Thu 06-Mar-14 14:43:01

Girls changed in the classroom and boys went into the cloakroom and that is in yr 3

whodrankallthemilk Thu 06-Mar-14 14:44:23

we had this problem with DD who actually got told off for getting changed in the toilets for swimming, instead of putting her costume on in front of all the other children 12 girls and 24 boys.

so we bought her a tankini, essentially a two piece swimming costume that looks like a one peice. she could then wear that under her uniform and still go to the toilet.

it was either that, or i would have withdrawn her from swimming.

Kendodd Thu 06-Mar-14 14:45:13

I asked our head about this at a meeting for new reception children. Although she completely understood and realised this could be difficult for older children she really felt there was nothing she could do just because of the limitations of the building. Children change in class but she said older ones could change in the toilet if they want and they do look out for children looking self-conscious.

missinglalaland Thu 06-Mar-14 15:00:39

My dd1 is in a mixed yr 5/6 class and all 30 kids change together. Very unfair on the older, more developed girls. Most don't show any signs of puberty, but a few do, and I think it is grossly insensitive not to consider this.

spanieleyes Thu 06-Mar-14 15:30:37

Year 3/4 change together with the girls at one end of the classroom, the boys at the other and their backs to each other. Year5/6 change seperately, the girls in the library adjacent to the classroom with an interconnecting door, the boys in the classroom ( as they are the ones more likely to mess about!)

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