1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Mixed-sex toilets and girls

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Vince_Ulam, Feb 21, 2019.


Does your school have mixed-sex toilets for pupils?

  1. Yes

    5 vote(s)
  2. No

    33 vote(s)
  1. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Removal of female-only spaces causes problems for girls. Who would have guessed?

    Pupils are missing school because they don't like mixed sex toilets and 'period shaming' is one of the main issues

    'The findings from a consultation started by women’s group Lleisiau Merched Cymru/Women’s Voices Wales comes as growing numbers of schools are opening mixed sex toilets which they claim reduces bullying and are more inclusive.

    Single sex toilets are still available in schools with mixed facilities but are often further away from main areas of the building, said Lleisiau Merched Cymru/Women’s Voices Wales.

    The findings from a consultation started by women’s group Lleisiau Merched Cymru/Women’s Voices Wales comes as growing numbers of schools are opening mixed sex toilets which they claim reduces bullying and are more inclusive.

    Single sex toilets are still available in schools with mixed facilities but are often further away from main areas of the building, said Lleisiau Merched Cymru/Women’s Voices Wales.

    The group believes neither pupils, parents nor school staff have been adequately consulted on single sex toilets and say some are embarrassed to complain, or don’t know how to do so.

    It has written to the Welsh Government and the Children’s Commissioner for Wales quoting a study by the University of Warwick showing almost four in ten female pupils have suffered sexual harassment at school in Wales and England.

    “In the light of this shocking report, Lleisiau Merched Cymru/Women’s Voices Wales would like to know how the safety and dignity of female pupils is being made a priority for schools in Wales,” the letter says.

    “We would like to know how the loss of female only spaces in schools is consistent with this equality objective.”

    It adds not enough consideration is being given to the safety, privacy and dignity of girls – and that unisex toilets that replace sex segregated washrooms do not even meet the legal requirements for schools in Wales.
    WalesOnline.co.uk, 15th February 2019.
    yelena_davydova6 likes this.
  2. aypi

    aypi Established commenter

    The building I work in has 5 toilets. Only one is designated "Female". None are designated "Male", no complaints that I am aware of. Mind you, the toilets are all self contained with a sink.
  3. Grandsire

    Grandsire Senior commenter

    God, I still remember the awfulness of my secondary school which had toilet cubicles with panels that stopped eight inches short of the floor, and sinks at the other end of the room, the other side of the queue. If you want to embarrass teenage girls, that’s how you do it.

    When we had a re-build of cloakroom areas at my first job, and destruction of our own wretched cubicles, I campaigned strongly for individual washroom-style toilets, each with its own sink, four proper ceiling-to-floor brick walls (not panels) and a full door to guarantee the older girls total privacy. Unbelievably, I was listened to and that’s exactly what they built.

    I’d have no problem with unisex facilities if they were all built to that standard. It’s the lack of privacy that makes shared spaces unpleasant.
  4. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Mixed sex toilets smell bad. Boys (and men) are messy.
  5. num3bers

    num3bers Occasional commenter

    At my last school we had a mixed sex staff toilet and two female toilets and two male toilets in a different block. I hated the mixed one and invariably walked across to the single sex ones. The mixed one was smelly and always had water ( or something) on the floor. Enough said?

    In my current school staff and pupils have single sex toilet blocks ( away from each other so that there can be no shaming when girls/boys go in/come out). Visitors have one toilet which is unisex. Not used much though I dont think.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    We have mixed staff toilets. Single bathroom style with sinks and covered bins, etc.
    (And a whole heap of junk that has no other reasonable storage place!)
    Works well enough.

    Single bathroom style loos should be fine for mixed or single sex.
  7. aypi

    aypi Established commenter

    Generally speaking, no mess in ours
  8. aypi

    aypi Established commenter

    No smell either, that is possibly down to the job our cleaners do.
  9. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    And girls take far too long in the loo!
  10. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    I worked in a school with mixed staff toilets, which were the usual cheap partitions with gaps at the top and bottom. They were hardly used. Most staff would travel to the other side of the school where there were proper toilets, nip out at lunchtime to their local MacDonald’s or go home if they could. Personally, I hated them. I like to have a good phart and contemplate life whilst producing a really smelly shy one, and the last thing I need is the 23 year old tottie next door with her knickers down, listening to my every strain.
  11. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    There was an experiment in an airport a few years ago - maybe because of that problem where there is always a long queue in the women's side. In one particular place in departures, where male and female toilets had been next to each other, they made both sides unisex. It didn't last long. Both sides had long queues and both sides smelled bad.

    Equal but not the same ;)
  12. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Lead commenter

    My school ( a large primary ) has two staff toilets one at each end of the school. This serves approx 40 staff. The teachers and TAs can usually only go at playtime and lunchtime so there is usually a long queue. The head teacher has her own toilet which is an en suite to her office.
  13. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    I wonder if workplaces should have a statutory minimum toilet:staff ratio. All of our staff loos are unisex. 3 of them in total. But they're all of the type that include the sink and dryer so not too bad. Kids have separate loos, as they should.

    I couldn't imagine sharing toilets with boys in secondary. I felt embarrassed enough furtively unwrapping a tampon in the single-sex toilets at my secondary just knowing there were other girls in there, never mind if there'd been boys too! I remember once after an incident with the boys' toilets involving a firework, one set of girls' toilets had to be temporarily redesignated as a boys' toilet while repairs took place. The boys were very excited to discover that "they've got mirrors and bins and everything." :rolleyes:

    My friend did once work in a school where the staff toilets were all self-contained rooms. Great she thought until she realised that every single one opened directly into a student work area. They also had large vents in the bottom of the doors. She was most perturbed one day when she sat down on the loo in a rush only to discover that the vent had been vandalised and she could fully see people's knees and shins as they walked past. :oops: Wasn't BSF great? No design faults... Ever! :D
    carterkit and agathamorse like this.
  14. install

    install Star commenter

    Toilets in narrow public corridors with thin doors that open out, and no windows,. are my pet hate. But,.I was in a school where some staff refused to do.a number 2 in the.staff loo . - but were fine with a number 1. That was before these wonderful 'poo sprays' :confused:
  15. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

  16. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    Don't disagree, but 50 years ago, I had a part time bar job in a real spit and saw dust pub and the state of the women's toilets at the end of the evening were far worse than the men's. Absolutely dreadful in fact! The staff were very fair to each other and we took it in turns to clean the Women's loo.

    Just re-read my post --- 50 years ago!! Oh Dear, where has the time gone! Hopefully we may have come a long way since then,
  17. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Isn't 'mixed sex' an easy way of escaping gender bias in schools?
    yelena_davydova6 likes this.
  18. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    There is no 'gender bias' is in school toilets but if I follow you then yes, moves like this are an easy way for SLTs to signal their gender-virtue to gender activists and anyone else who does not care about pubertal girls having access to secure & hygienic female-only spaces.
    Happygopolitely likes this.
  19. carterkit

    carterkit Occasional commenter

    Unfortunately it is absolutely true in my experience that pupils - both genders - do not wish to use mixed sex toilets and some are going to great lengths to avoid having to do so. I am aware of pupils missing school during their periods and also becoming ill due to long-term constipation for example.

    I really don't understand why people are trying to make toilets an equality issue. There is no bias in providing male and female toilets. In my particular role I am probably more aware than many of the issues facing our trans and non-binary pupils and none of them have ever been solved by mixed sex toilets. In fact, again just based on my own experience this group of pupils tend to be among those going to extreme lengths to avoid the mixed sex toilets.

    And as for the involvement of those who design schools - let's be honest, it has far more to do with saving money than equality.

    It is hard enough being a teenager of any gender with all the associated embarrassment about developing bodies, bodily functions and just about everything else. Now pupils are being forced to perform intimate actions (inserting tampons for example) separated from those for whom such actions are totally outside their experience by only a small piece of MDF. It is just plain wrong.
  20. youmakemesmile

    youmakemesmile New commenter

    Some schools are out of control but it's kind of hidden. I know of a girl who had to be removed from her secondary school after being harassed by a group of boys. The school didn't manage to stop it. When I worked in secondary I had pupils of the opposite sex threatening to do things to me. Dread to think what could happen in mixed sex toilets in such schools!

Share This Page