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Schools: Sanitation

Volume 461: debated on Monday 11 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what steps his Department is taking to inform (a) local education authorities, (b) governors and (c) schools of their responsibility for ensuring the standard and cleanliness of school toilet facilities; (141077)

(2) what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) local education authorities, (b) governors and (c) schools are made aware of the recently published guidance on school toilets issued as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme;

(3) what plans he has to monitor improvements in the provision of school toilets as a result of the recently published guidance on school toilets.

The day-to-day responsibility for ensuring the standard of cleanliness of school toilet facilities lies with the school governors with, in general, the local authorities having an overarching responsibility. This is laid out within the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999, SI No.2 1999.

The guidance referred to in PQ 141078 is ‘Standard Specifications, Layouts and Dimensions SSLD 3: Toilets in Schools’. This guidance has been developed to inform the building schools for the future (BSF) programme. It sets out standards of performance for toilet facilities and shows how they might be delivered through design examples. The aim of the SSLD series of specifications is to disseminate best practice and avoid “reinventing the wheel” every time a school building is designed so that consistently high quality environments can be delivered, offering best whole-life value for money. The new guidelines also seek to address the issue of bullying in toilet blocks, helping ensure that cramped, dirty and vandalised toilets become a thing of the past. Toilets in BSF schools will no longer provide bullies with places that lend themselves all too readily to antisocial behaviours.

School building clients, their professional advisers, contractors and their supply chains will use the guidance at the early stages of a project's development whether for new build, extension or refurbishment.

The guidance was published on both the Department1 and Partnerships for Schools' websites and local authorities will be informed through newsletters that the guidance exists. The guidance is being reflected in the BSF standard documentation. The published guidance applies to new toilet facilities only.

The Department has no plans to monitor improvements in provision of school toilets.