The reality of school toilets can be pretty frightening.
Just the thought is enough to strike fear into the heart of many pupils, who will do anything in their power to avoid using them.
A YouGov poll – commissioned by hygiene company Essity – revealed that of 1500 secondary school students surveyed, 5% never use the toilet at school!
It’s a familiar horror story up and down the country, as pupils avoid drinking throughout the school day in a bid to swerve needing to use the bathroom, put off by dirty, unsafe facilities.
But whilst most schools are painfully aware of the need to provide clean, well-maintained toilets, the reality of doing so can be easier said than done.
Luckily, help is at hand. This October, school bathroom specialists ONVO, are highlighting how even a few small changes can make a powerful difference in helping to make school toilets a little less scary.
School toilets improvements
· Make them more open plan
It’s long been recognised that open-plan toilets are favourable for the school environment.
A government initiative introduced way back in 2007, identified that open-plan facilities help to reduce the risk of bullying and vandalism and promote cleanliness. So if you’re looking to make a positive change, opening up space is a great idea.
It can sound like major work but it’s often more straightforward than you think. Simply removing the main entry door to the bathroom and widening the doorway can provide the same effect as removing a full wall but without the same level of upheaval or expense. And if you’re concerned about losing space to hang washbasins, there are numerous alternatives available – such as our circular wash fountains, which are freestanding from the wall and take up minimal floor space.
Do your school toilets look like something from an 80’s horror movie? Then it’s time to modernise and bring facilities up to date.
Hide ugly pipework with modular support frames for a streamlined, contemporary look – that not only looks the part but is easier to keep clean too.
· Use colour
Make bathrooms more welcoming by livening them up with vibrant feel-good shades or crisp and clean white – you could even incorporate school colours. The options are endless and can make a real difference to the look and feel of the space.
· Keep them clean
It sounds obvious but staying on top of maintenance and keeping toilets clean is the first – and possibly the most important – step in making them more user friendly.
Ensure cleaning rotas are regularly updated and are sufficient for the scale of use. Supplies need to be closely monitored to ensure basics, such as soap and toilet roll, don’t run out. And if something breaks – fix it! A faulty dryer, broken tap or cracked sink all have a negative impact on the environment.
· Educate about hygiene
With concerns about catching illnesses and infections influencing students’ decisions to use the toilets, it’s important to educate on proper hygiene and handwashing techniques.
Similarly, it’s essential to stress the importance of staying hydrated and the impact avoiding fluids can have on concentration and learning.
Reassure students with a visual presence and make inspections of the toilets a routine occurrence. Not only will this prevent bathrooms from feeling like a ‘forgotten’ area, it will help to keep would-be bullies in check, and ensure cleanliness levels and standards are maintained throughout the day.
Talk to the experts
Could your school toilets benefit from an upgrade?
Here at ONVO, we recognise the importance of quality, modern solutions for school bathrooms and their power to improve daily school life for students and staff.
Why not take a look at case studies of recent work we have completed? And to find out more about what we do, and how we could help your school to make improvements, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.