School children should not have to fear going to the toilet or minimise the number of trips they make during school hours. But unfortunately, many do, and for several reasons that this guide looks to tackle. Read on, to learn how to adere to important toilet provision in schools.
Pupils may not always be comfortable using the toilet on school property; toilets may be unhygienic, lack privacy or security, or be a centre for antisocial behaviour. In fact, one study carried out in the UK found that a quarter of children avoid school toilets “if at all possible” due to poor hygiene, bullies and smokers.
For the pupils that may postpone going to the toilet, they risk facing dehydration, headaches and lethargy, digestive problems, pain, UTIs, and more, as they reduce water consumption and delay relieving themselves.
The design of your washrooms and toilet cubicles can ameliorate these issues, ensuring these spaces are as inviting, as inclusive and as functional as possible so that all pupils can use them freely.
In order to achieve this, adhering to the regulations and guidelines surrounding the provision of toilets in schools is important. Excelsior are experts in washrooms for the education sector and here we outline some of the main guidelines to follow for institutions looking to implement well-designed, safe spaces.
Department of Education: School Cubicle Standards
One of the most prominent resources to be consulted for advice on toilet provision in schools is the Department of Education’s standards for school premises.
Generally speaking, these guidelines state that provisions must be suitable. Washrooms and toilet cubicles should therefore take into account the number of pupils, their age, sex, and any special requirements to provide the standard of facilities expected.
We further break down these regulations below, taking a look at the different types of washroom facilities that may be required and how best to plan for them.
Toilet and Washing Facilities
There should be a sufficient number of toilet and hand washing facilities provided for the use of pupils only. Toilets should further be divided by sex for pupils aged 8 or over.
The only exception of this regulation is where toilets are single-occupancy facilities that can be locked from the inside (otherwise known as Superloos); this type of cubicle can be used by both female and male users.
Accessibility and Accommodating Needs
Disabled toilets that can be locked from the inside should also be provided within an institution. The facility should contain one toilet, one washbasin, and hand drying facilities as a minimum, with sufficient manoeuvring space for disabled users. It is additionally advised that the door to the facility opens directly onto a circulation space that is not a staircase for ambulant disabled people.
Disabled toilets are for use by disabled pupils, but can also be used by pupils, staff, and visitors who are not disabled.
Showers and Changing Rooms
Pupils aged 11 years and over who participate in physical education should be provided with showers and changing rooms. These areas should be separate from toilet cubicles where possible for hygiene and to provide adequate privacy for those using them.
Excelsior supplies cubicles and accessories for showering and changing accommodation, which are available in a complementary design to our toilet cubicles and handwashing facilities. Our shower cubicles are available in Solid Grade Laminate, ensuring durability and longevity, with a variety of finishes available.
Within the school environment, our showering cubicles excel with antibacterial protection, ease of cleaning to prevent mould and mildew build-up, and a focus on sustainability, achieved through materials and manufacturing methods.
Whether redesigning, renovating, or constructing new facilities, the planning of school toilets and washrooms is crucial to ensuring the space is functional and meets requirements, within budget and timescales.
When planning for the provision of school toilets, guidelines focus on the functionality and safety of toilets. As a part of this, toilets should be placed in easily accessible areas and signed for the separate sexes.
Facilities should be designed so that hand wash basins and hand drying facilities are in the immediate vicinity, encouraging hygiene and cleanliness of the space and users. Ventilation is necessary to upkeep a sanitary environment, discouraging the build-up of moisture and odours.
Adequate lighting is also a necessity for the safe use of toilets and is outlined in guidance.
The privacy of pupils should also be a priority, whilst allowing for appropriate supervision by staff based upon their age group (nursery and primary schools will require greater supervision for the safety of pupils). Supervision also helps discourage antisocial behaviour and unnecessary congregation in toilets in older years.
Where there is unisex provision of a toilet facility, privacy can be achieved through adequate enclosure and full height doors. Excelsior further offers privacy-enhancing accessories, such as anti-peep channels (which prevent a phone or camera from being pushed through any gaps) for our toilet and washroom cubicle ranges.
Another essential part of the planning process is calculating how many toilets are appropriate with your institution. We explore this in the following section.
How Many Toilets Does a School Need?
Calculating the correct number of toilets is essential for streamlining costs of a renovation or build project, but it is also important for ensuring there are enough toilets for pupils, as well as reducing wait times and congregations, and ensuring the longevity and cleanliness of toilets.
Therefore, it is recommended that:
- One toilet and washbasin are provided for every ten pupils under the age of 5.
- One toilet and washbasin should be provided for every twenty pupils aged between 5-11 years.
- For those over the age of 11, one toilet should be provided for every twenty pupils, however, the number of hand wash basins can be reduced where necessary (not including in single-occupancy, self-contained washrooms, also known as Superloos).
Other Important Considerations
Washrooms and toilets are included within the scope of Ofsted inspection and reporting, so taking a comprehensive approach to meeting regulations and being aware of how you could fail an inspection is crucial.
For example, some of the most common errors your toilet cubicles and washroom facilities could fail on include:
- A lack of signage
- A lack of privacy
- Inadequate sanitary disposal facilities
- Failure to meet regulations surrounding the number and condition of toilets
- Insufficient hand washing and drying supplies, such as soap and paper towels.
Children’s Toilet Cubicles for Schools
Excelsior works with all educational institutions, from nursery to secondary schools and higher education, for the supply and installation of bespoke toilet and washroom cubicles.
Our expertise surrounding the provision of washrooms for these environments ensures we can offer the most appropriate solution for your design, with a variety of ranges, materials, and accessories to complete your build. Our products are manufactured to fit your unique measurements, resulting in ease of installation.
These materials offer durability, resistance against impact and wear and tear, and resistance to water. SGL is a waterproof, self-supporting panel that is made to excel in high-traffic environments, however, both options are suitable for the needs of educational institutions.
Our extensive ranges suitable for schools are available in various heights, ensuring our customers can achieve the design they require. For younger age groups, low-profile doors and partitions are preferable for increased supervision by adults. However, for mature age groups, standard and full height ranges offer greater privacy for the user.
Excelsior has ranges suitable for both wet and dry environments, with select ranges further discouraging antisocial behaviour such as vandalism.
Our ranges are also available in a wide variety of colours, printed patterns and effects.
Excelsior’s washroom ranges are available with a full set of accessories, alongside duct panelling, benches and lockers, ensuring our customers can be provided with a complete finished product.
Auxiliary accessories include:
- Grab rails and handles
- Warm air dryers
- Paper towel dispensers
- Toilet paper dispensers
- Toilet roll holders
- Soap dispensers
- Coat hooks and door stops
- Waste bins
- Anti-peep channels.
Excelsior ensures our products are manufactured and installed in line with the latest industry guidelines for the safety and functionality of the space.
This includes integrated plumbing systems (IPS) and cubicle systems and components, which adhere to dimensional and functional requirements alongside material requirements (including colour requirements for partially sighted pupils). Regarding colour requirements, we utilise Light Reflectance Value, or LRV, to calculate sufficient contrast between elements in a washroom; this includes floors against walls, and grab rails against walls, enabling those with poor vision to navigate and use the washroom. We further adhere to regulation surrounding locking devices and emergency release functions for accessibility and safety.
With over forty years of experience manufacturing and installing bespoke washrooms, Excelsior is trusted to meet the needs of the education sector for all institution types. We work alongside architects to ensure the feasibility of design and offer guidance where needed.
To discover what we can do for your institution, take a look at our washrooms for the education sector.