Do you remember your school toilets? Not a good memory, right? If they were anything like mine, they were smelly, dingy and felt a bit like there might be a bully about to grab you at any minute. It doesn’t have to be like that – with thoughtful design, school toilets can be positive, clean and fresh.
A serious issue
Around 25% of schoolchildren avoid using the toilet at school, with many reporting that they drink less during the day so they won’t need to go. As the wonderful charity ERIC’s The Right to Go campaign makes clear, this is a serious issue, with impacts on educational outcomes and even the risk of long-term health impacts such as incontinence and infections.
So, how do you make school toilets better? If you’re redesigning your facilities it is really worth thinking of more than a lick of paint and some new fittings. Here are some of the things to think about:
1. Bully-free bathrooms
Lots of pupils worry about being cornered in toilets. Having more than one door means students can flow through without feeling trapped. Too many toilet blocks are dark and dingy, hidden in a corner of the school; bright, light toilets in a central place feel safer. If you can, you might even consider having single cubicles dotted around the school instead of a single block. Get some really robust locks to make sure students feel their privacy is respected.
2. Good scents
School loos get heavily used, so they can get a bit whiffy! Investing in a really good system of ventilation will ensure those pongs are kept at a minimum. There is also no substitute for maintenance: it’s worth investing in easy-clean fittings at the outset. Think about having flooring that slopes up to meet the wall, hands-free soap and taps, and lighting that sits flush with walls or ceilings to avoid cobwebs and dirt building up.
3. Make it cool
If you’ve got a problem with vandalism in your toilets, it might help to rethink the design. When children like something and think it is special, they are much more likely to treat it well. Think about having an accent wall decorated with street art, bright glittery surfaces or a theme chosen by students. It doesn’t cost much more and it could make a real saving in the long run. You could even think about having piped music – pupils won’t be worried about embarrassing noises and they will feel more relaxed and respectful.
4. Heavenly hygiene
We know keeping school toilets clean can be a really thankless task. Try hands-free equipment to reduce germ transference and keep your fittings much cleaner. A modern, trough-style sink could be much more attractive to students than old-style basins. Push-button toilet flushes are also a great way to keep bacteria at bay.
If you think your school’s toilets could use a bit more pizzazz, just get in touch to see how we can help!