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 professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

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

    Dismiss Notice

Toilet training is being left to teachers, says Ofsted chief

Discussion in 'Education news' started by nomad, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Teachers should not be expected to toilet train four year olds, the Ofsted chief has said, as she she says it is parents' responsibility.

    Delivering her second annual report as the body's chief inspector, Amanda Spielman will, later this week, restate how a rising number of children are starting school without being able carry out basic functions like communicating and using the loo.

    The Chief Inspector will highlight the growing evidence of children arriving at reception unable to use a toilet, concluding that: “This is difficult for teachers, disruptive for other children and has a terrible social impact on the children affected. This is wrong. Toilet training is the role of parents and carers and should not be left to schools. Only in the most extreme cases should parents be excused from this most basic of parenting tasks.”

  2. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Toilet training is just the latest and the most attention-grabbing thing that is being left to teachers. For years now without basic manners, basic respect for others, ,basic values, basic habits like cleaning up after themselves. Of course, we have a part to play in these, but they are, at the end of the day, the responsibilty of the parents.

    Let's not let these issues be overlooked in any public handwringing about toilet training.
  3. Grandsire

    Grandsire Senior commenter

    Come on, hardly a day goes by when some new “Schools must do more to tackle ...” initiative isn’t announced. It’s a wonder we find time to teach.

    This ship has long since sailed. The children whose parents absolved responsibility for bringing up their children are now parents themselves. We’ve had to introduce strategies to combat obesity, poor mental health, gang violence, drug abuse, cyber-bullying... The government clearly sees schools as a one-stop help centre for all social ills, and not academic establishments. Does it even want an educated electorate?
    peter12171, drek, BetterNow and 5 others like this.
  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    "Schools can and should teach children about the importance of healthy eating and exercise in line with their core purpose; their PE lessons should get them out of breath," she will say.

    "But beyond that, schools cannot take over the role of health professionals - and above all parents."

    Highlighting the growing evidence of children arriving at reception unable to use a toilet, she will add: "This is difficult for teachers, disruptive for other children and has a terrible social impact on the children affected."

    Personally I'd say any child who is morbidly obese is a CP issue, and social services need to be involved, and any child (unless they have severe special needs) who turns up at school at the age of 4 - 5 unable to use a toilet should be turned away, and the parents again referred to the authorities.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    It is true that we do as much to teach basic living skills as we do academic education, certainly in primary school.
    Not sure if I think it is fundamentally wrong though.

    Parents return to work very quickly after children are born. If a child is in wrap around care from 8-6 Mon - Fri from a year or so old, those spending time with the children will have to take a large part in teaching these skills. If a child is at home with mum or dad until they are 5 and then only go to school from 9-3.30, then parents can take a larger part.
    naomihardy84 and monicabilongame like this.
  6. Oscillatingass

    Oscillatingass Star commenter

    Sorry, I don't care how hard parents work, it is their responsibility to toilet train their own kids unless there is some sort of medical issue.
    MissGeorgi, drek, bessiesmith and 6 others like this.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    However, if the child is at nursery from 8-6, the childcare professionals will have to do something to assist.
    monicabilongame likes this.
  8. lucylollipop

    lucylollipop New commenter

    Totally agree. My family consists of lots of young couples with full time jobs, but when it was the right time to toilet train their children they managed it or, in one case, the couple took time off work between them, to ensure that their little one was toilet trained in two weeks. Yes, children have accidents in Nursery and Reception, and these are dealt with, but one of the parents in my Nursery recently put on a FB discussion that since her son would be starting Nursery in January, 'they'll look after it', ie, toilet training. Unacceptable.
    drek, TCSC47, Oscillatingass and 3 others like this.
  9. CWadd

    CWadd Lead commenter

    Its also parents responsibility to teach students to tie shoelaces, do up buttons, blow their noses, and how to eat properly at a table with a knife and fork, without spitting or chewing with their mouths open. Oh, and also to leave other children's property alone, to say please and thank you and have some basic manners. Then again, this would mean the parents would have to stop looking at their smart phones or going for prosecco drinkies, how tiresome!!

    Ouch, I know. Cheap shots that are coming from an emotional rather than a rational place with me today. But the subject of the thread has really irritated me. Mainly because the attitude of "those teachers can do it" seems to come from self absorbed parents, who find childcare a difficult thing to fit in between work, hot yoga sessions, and manicures.

    Parents have to work. So did parents 30-40 years ago. Funnily enough, the majority of schools did not report being used as social workers/ nursery nurses at that point. Big difference - PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. The whole attitude of "its not my place to do it" absolutely stinks, and this needs challenging, big time.
    peter12171, drek, Catgirl1964 and 5 others like this.
  10. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Of all the problems that beset teachers, this is The Only One That Matters, or at least it's going to be The Only One That Makes It To The National Press.

    As Speilman hasn't delivered her speech yet then maybe other (lesser) matters will make it but I look forward to the appointment of a Poo Tsar so the government can say it's addressing this major problem.
  11. ABCCBA123321

    ABCCBA123321 Occasional commenter

    The issue can be that, until they get to about age 5 or so - you have absolutely no joy in persuading the doctors and health visitors that there IS any potential medical issue. Therefore you have to run the gauntlet of starting school and all the judgement that that entails before you hit the age where the system will start to take any notice of parents who've often been begging for help for years by that point.

    And yes - I'm speaking from my own child here - who started school still struggling massively with toileting - and not for a want of much much much parental effort, and also struggled with cutlery which is another one usually on the bumper checklist of awful parenting. No formal diagnosis at the point she started school apart from we'd started down the road of knowing that at least some of the issues were constipation related - and we absolutely have busted our behinds trying to get medication and routines to the point where things were at least as sustainable as they could be for school - but there were periods of lots and lots of accidents when things regressed. Taken at least the last year to finally begin to get some formal diagnosis in place about what causes the bundle of issues we have (yes we also have the "children these days can't dress themselves independently" and the "children's speech these days is awful" and "kids these days don't know how to hold a pencil" off the bumper I Spy Book Of Parental Judgement as well) and there are solid reasons behind all of these difficulties - but if you'd seen my child rocking up in Reception on a gloomy September morning and the list of what they couldn't do - you might well have put us in the "lousy parents these days" box as well.

    Turns out she's got dyspraxia, verbal dyspraxia, sensory processing problems and there are elements of inattentive ADHD at play there too. The point I'm making is this story reappears every single year without fail - and there's always the "oh we didn't mean children with SEN" cry of consolation - but a heck of a lot of these kids will start school first and the diagnosis will come later (I am privately rather narked that nursery didn't pick up on any of this incidentally and I'd been on at GPs and health visitors for ages before but in our area they will only take you seriously once school start firing concern forms at them as well).

    Incidentally - I hate prosecco CWadd
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  12. Oscillatingass

    Oscillatingass Star commenter

    Yeah, that is why I said "unless there is a medical issue". I sympathize with you for the problems you have experienced through no fault of your own but surely you are not arguing that your issues typify those of all parents who do not toilet train their kids by school age?
    drek and Catgirl1964 like this.
  13. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Nor does it justify teachers or TAs having to do change nappies.

    Maybe where a child isn't toilet trained, a parent/family member should be made to come to school all day to do it...
  14. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    Copied my post from a similar tread to this.

    But at least Spielman has raised a very important issue. There are things that teachers are having to cope with that are most definitely the responsibility of the parents. Now whether all parents can be caused to take on these responsibilities is another matter, but at least it has been raised. I was privileged last year to be able to help out with a year 1 class and I saw at first hand the time taken up by the school with these problems.

    Fair enough. We are all in teaching to do as much as we personally can, to bring children into the world of adults. But it is important that what we are having to do is at the very least recognised, and then perhaps measures can be put into place to create solutions to the problems, be they either giving teachers more resources or somehow managing to educate the ineffective parents.

    Rock on Amanda, I say!
    bessiesmith likes this.
  15. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Presumably you tried to toilet train your child and had there not been issues you would have succeeded, The point being made in the article is that parents are not bothering to do these basic things. If all parents tried then it could be fair to say that the ones in reception who are not trained probably have an issue. Which of course would make it easier for them to be helped becaue the staff would not be flooded out trying to cope with the spawn of lazy parents.
    drek, Oscillatingass and FrankWolley like this.
  16. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Mrs B does early years supply and has done so for the last 7 or 8 years. latest thig for her is that she is not allowed to change nappies or deal with soiled children because of 'safeguarding' issues'. Only permanent staff can do this. Given that in many setting they employ more supply than permanents this puts a big load onto a few staff. She has pointed out that she has all the paperwork and 40+ years experience but the employers won't have it.
    drek and FrankWolley like this.
  17. Oscillatingass

    Oscillatingass Star commenter

    The solution to this seems oddly simple. If child is not toilet trained they are not permitted to attend main stream school until they are, or alternatively they may attend school but only if accompanied by a parent who can change the soiled nappies. While I accept that these days teachers are expected to do much more than teach, a line needs to be drawn somewhere.
    drek, Catgirl1964 and blazer like this.
  18. kty

    kty New commenter

    Imagine the outcry if this scenario were to be repeated outside of school, e.g. Parent takes (non-toilet trained) child to the shopping mall and asks shop assistants to change the child, after school clubs staff and sports/music teachers have to do this too, or at the GP if the child soils themselves the doctor is expected to change them.

    Interesting to see the Guardian try to link the rise in schoolchildren in nappies to the Tory party and class division. Coming from a poor family, I don't remember any four or five year olds having accidents or wearing nappies at school.

    Are there still benefits payable for 'delayed development' when no other symptons apart from this one are present?
    Oscillatingass and Catgirl1964 like this.
  19. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    This is all about the balance of accountability. Every teacher is threatened with performance related pay, or capability procedures if the children in their care are not meeting expected standards but at the moment parents (who chose to have the children in the first place) have virtually no accountability for their child failing to thrive - removing children from their families is the only, extreme and quite rare threat.
    Catgirl1964 and drek like this.
  20. drek

    drek Lead commenter

    Balance won't be achieved by punishing parents.
    We don't want another return to state interference and children being removed from families to meet data targets of the private firms being handed state money to do so..........
    That will leave the vulnerable even more exposed to poor care or sadly abuse as I don't imagine there will be enough people wanting to do the job on zero contract hours......

    Teachers however should not be bullied and frightened anymore into doing more than their fair share of care which our current performance management system leaves them exposed to.......
    JohnJCazorla likes this.

Share This Page