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Children needing the toilet during lessons

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by cally4, Sep 20, 2007.

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  1. I think this thread is really interesting, I have never come across an issue such as this before in schools, in fact I'd never even thought about it.
    In my school, if someone asks, they can go, even if it is straight after a break (however in this case they usually will get the rant about going at breaktimes).
    Nobody vandalises the loos but there are horrendous queues at the beginning of breaks and lunch (just about managable though). I find it bizarre that in some schools the toilets actually have to be locked! I've never even heard of toilet passes.
    I thought the school was quite strict but I think the students are generally sensible and trustworthy enough for this sort of thing not to be an issue. Perhaps it has something to do with it being an all girls' school? Then again maybe not.
    Students are allowed to drink in lessons and in many sixth form classes, there is a class rota for who should bring cake for the class to eat in the lesson (the teachers are on the rota too)!
    Reading these posts, it probably sounds like I'm making it up, but I was genuinely shocked when I saw this thread.
    Also, at my school, teachers often leave classes unattended, sometimes to go to toilet, or to do photocopying etc. This is all years, not just sixth form. Is this not common practise? Is it not allowed? Obviously they are only left unsupervised when they have work to be getting on with.
    Sorry, this post is a little incomprehensible, I was having a 'stream of consciousness' moment.
  2. Henriettawasp

    Henriettawasp New commenter

    No. The expectation is that we do NOT leave a class unsupervised - although emergencies do sometimes crop up. There are some classes you could trust for a moment while you nip next door to borrow something, but others ... definitely not!
    We are told it is to do with insurance, health & safety etc.
  3. My main rule is 1 at a time if they need the loo and has to be at approraite time. Because I teach dance and drama it is often once I have explained the task and given time to complete. The dance studio they cannot wander of because to get to the main part of the school they need my teacher key card to get through the door. There is a toilet they can get to. Drama depends on the child. If it has just been break or lunch then I tell them that they should have gone in the break or if its about to be break or lunch they have to wait.

    Some of our kids do have a medical card so they are let out stright away. I have enough of a battle getting kids into the dance studio in kit, without their socks on and not chewing to refuse popping to the loo at appropriate times. I have many girls trying to get out of doing dance cus they are on their period!

    I have had serious kidney problems and one point putting my in hospital for 3 days plus 2 weeks of work. I do wait to go in the breaks or if I have our subject TA manning the changing rooms I pop quickly to the loo, but then we do not have staff toliets which is another story.

  4. marrsy_2000

    marrsy_2000 New commenter

    Teachers may well feel on a personal level that they would allow a pupils out to go to the toilet but may fear being criticised by senior staff for not following school procedures. We have to apply rules consistently in all classrooms or pupils never know where they stand. A more experienced teacher, especially one that had been at the school for a long time might not be so worried about being critisised by their line manager, hence your impression that younger teachers are appling the rules more rigidly. Bear in ming the constant pressure put on teachers to follow guidance on all sorts of things. My solution to this problem has been to say to the pupils something along the lines of..."If you <u>have</u> to go to the loo during lessons in an emergency then I will allow it. However it is valuable time lost form your education and so you will need to make the time spent out of lesson at break or lunchtime. So if you take 10 mins to go and come back that will be 10 minutes of your break you will need to spend with me. It would have been 10 minutes you would have spent quing for the loo at break so it is fair on you and you are not missing out on valuable lesson time." The thing is when I have used this system the requests for toilet breaks reduce dramatically. Strange that?
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I've timed kids while they've been gone and got them to make up the time at the end, too. Works well for lessons before break/lunch/end of day. I also insisted on waiting until a convenient point, usually once individual/group activities were in progress.
    I once had a lad who asked frequently, but was no problem otherwise - I had no concerns that he was up to mischief while out of the room. I saw the school nurse to check whether there was a problem, she saw him to enquire, and he suddenly stopped asking.
  6. This makes me so cross. Being able to the toilet is a human right. If you're on a course and you need the toilet and you hold on can you actually concentrate or are you just wishing they'd hurry up and get to a break?
    My daughter is 8 and told me that she is too scared to ask her teacher if she can go to the toilet because he shouts and says that she should go at playtime, however at playtime the children need to wait for the toilet bell before they can go!
    I've always allowed children to go and have never had anyone taking advantage. If you make it a big deal then I think children do play on it but if it's treated as something quite natural and ordinary it isn't an issue.
  7. If you refuse one pupil, no one else asks. If you allow one pupil, 4 more ask to go.
    I tell them to try to hold on (especially if they have just had a break or have a break next). If they come back to me in 10 mins , I assess whether I think it is really necessary at that moment. Obviously there are times when I let them go at once if I think it is an emergency. But I feel that they need to learn to take care of these needs at the appropriate time, i.e. breaks. I have to do this, and can, because I learnt to do it at school.
    Personally I think part of the problem is pupils constantly drinking, and not water, but juice/sport drinks which are more of a diuretic than water. I really believe that sipping water constantly during lessons is a mistake and does not improve their learning over having a drink at break and lunch. I teach science where they are not allowed to eat or drink in a lab. They look so taken aback when I tell them they can't drink in my lesson. By all means keep hydrated durring the day. And it probably does help the brain to function better. But stick to drinking at breaks. After all, how long is the longest that they would have to go between breaks? 2 hours? or less if they have a drink walking between lessons. I may be cruel, but I tell them it takes 3 days to die of thirst, so it won't happen this lesson.
  8. My god

    No wonder we have teachers changing nappies, doing up shoes and coats in primary.

    An 11 year old child can't control their waterworks, has an accident and it's child abuse on the part of the teacher.

    My father was working at 12, mother at 14 (toilet break was lunch or tea break), the school leaving age has not always been 16, somehow we have raised the toilet training age as well.

    I can sympathise with medical conditions, shy children, nerves in year 7 - but......

    I never see year 7's leave a school football match to go to the loo they can hold it then,
    I never see year 7's need the loo in the middle of a netball match they can hold it then,

    If it's medical she should have been to the doctors and a note put in the diary, but mark my words, kids can be cruel and this sort of thing frequently marks them as targets for the school bully/torment.

    A female student once tried to blackmail me with the "ladies thing" my standard comeback about wife, daughters and even the dog being female eneded in a parent complaint.

    It turned out she'd used it on most of her teachers over a couple of weeks -

    even an insensitive bloke like me knows that periods should not be that long (yes I know there can be issues for various reasons), if it is I'd refer back to form tutor/parents, if not I've got a silly child who thinks they are smarter than all the adults around them - again.

    This is clearly one of those times when an unfortunate accident has happend, I'm sure the teacher concerned wishes they had made the other choice, but these things happen.

    Me, on the whole, blame the raising of "rights" above "responsibility" for issues like this.

    If I have a week bladder it's my responsibility to manage it, I think I am reasonable in applying that to my students as well, a bit harder at primary, but my own kids were toilet trained by the time they went to school - I would fight shy of broadcasting they had toilet issues and blame somebody else.

  9. p1j39

    p1j39 New commenter

    Overheard conversation between a lunchtime supervisor trying to get a Yr 11 girl to her lesson:
    Supervisor: Come on, Tina (name changed), off you go to lessons.
    Tina: I've got to go to the loo
    Supervisor: Well you're late, go to your teacher and ask permission before registration closes.
    Tina: (shouting) I've got to go I'm on my period
    Supervisor: You were last week and the week before, Tina! Off you go!

    Kids will use the tiolet and other excuses to avoid class. How would you control prevent willful truancy like this? (this is aimed at the 'this is child abuse' brigade)

  10. If a pupil is desperately in need of the toilet then i would let them go, if it is immediatly after their lunch and tutor time I would say they really ought to have gone at lunch or end of tutor time. I will expect them to come in and sit down whilst I take the register and get everyone started (max 10mins) at this point if they still need the toilet they can go and are told to be quick.
    I understand that some pupils will try it on, but you learn very quickly who these ones are, it's not about being harsh but being fair and using judgement.

  11. DM

    DM New commenter

    Tell them to ask again in 15 minutes.
    If they are desperate, they will ask again.
    90% will forget about it.
  12. Also if they can't go at a specific time, they will miss their appointment with their friends to meet at the toilets and won't need to go 15 mins later.
  13. DM

    DM New commenter

    My thinking exactly pookyrobin.
  14. I'm a primary teacher - rarely come on this forum but yesterday I read a thread about measuring the length of girls' skirts to make sure they don't flout school rules and now this one on going to the toilet. There are a few sane voices here, but from reading some posts, I worry that all my hard work nurturing a respectful environment and a love for learning is only going to be destroyed - and quickly - by paranoid, controlling secondary school teachers.
    Some of you need to take a step back and remember that you work in centres of leaning, not the prison system.
  15. Not a member of the child abuse brigade, but teachers might consider making lessons more interesting, more relevant, more interactive, more engaging, more active etc. If children want to avoid a class, maybe it's because the teacher has boring lessons or is, perhaps, a nasty person. I'd want to avoid classes with that teacher. Fortunately, as an adult, I have a wider repertoire of avoidance tactics than children in schools.
  16. Sorry p1j39
    Didn't mean to make it sound like I was having a pop at you, it was the arrogant martyr who irritated me.

    I think what we do is moving further and further away from this, the spoon feeding and constant micromanagement of targets and progress is so far away from real life, it's a wonder so many do as well as they do when they leave us.
  17. I am reading this whilst desperate for the loo!!!!

    No -one has mentioned the fact that many secondary school toilets can be intimidating places for new pupils...they may not want to go at break or lunch because of this?!

    I usually let new pupils go one at a time to the toliet but I also tell them that they should go at the designated break times and that this is all part of growing up! Works most of the time...they stop asking after a month or so of being in the 'big school'.

    You can tell the kids who have made appointments with their friends a mile off..... just say no, or tell them to ask again in 5 mins.
    Finally....itwassnyme....which part of the country do you work in? I want to make sure I never move there!
  18. perhaps you should remember the old adage 'before I criticise him I should walk a mile in another man's shoes.'

    I am sure you love your child and that she is an angel but please remember that we have a duty of care to all of them. I am convinced you think we are all Miss Trunchbulls - which is not the case. Trust me - the pay is not enough to make anyone stick it out If they hated children they way you imply.

    please find something proper to worry about - like the inevitable blood-soaked fight your child will witness or the lack of parental support that secondary schools generally enjoy in this country.
  19. I'm a primary teacher, and yes I let my year 6s use the loo whenever. Around 1 or 2 a day pop out to do so. I'm not perfect either-one in a blue moon I'll pop next door too.
    But then I thought everyone knew- summer term year 6 they grow horns and regress emotionally! It's the hormones I guess.
  20. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    I encourage my class to use the loo in their playtimes. Unless I see a child is really struggling (i.e. can see there is a problem/ illness coming on) or if I have a letter detailing a medical need to go on request (where I stress that there is no come back on me if their child exploits this and thus misses learning opportunities by over frequent trips) then I have a blanket "not in my teaching input" rule. Thus, they can go in their activity time, as long as they complete all the work. In the afternoon (unless above applies) then no child is allowed before 2 pm. Within the first hour after lunch is ridiculous, especially in Secondary. Teachers can't leave classes to go and hold on, so why can't children, who actually have longer breaks in which to go? If I let one child go, then I'm always prepared for the requests from half the class. I then let them go in turn to aovid the toilet room meeting/ mess around. It may sound harsh but potentially a lot of learning time can be missed and disruption caused by frequent loo trips.
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