The Great Loo Review: A Follow-Up!

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Earlier in the year we reported on the, frankly disgusting, state of some of the school's toilets, and also on the accusations of sexism in the distribution of toilet paper. Overmark has learnt that the Medway Youth Parliament has also been investigating school toilets, and we combined results to see how, and if, RMGS has cleaned-up its act since our first report.
The MYP, including representatives from most local schools, went to the House of Commons to help launch the ?Bog Standard? initiative. The group is concerned that the poor state of toilets is not only unpleasant, but may also be a health hazard. The MYP commissioned a survey of pupils at secondary schools, and found that around a half of surveyed pupils said they always waited until they got home to use a toilet, rather than using a school one; and around a quarter of pupils said that they had experienced health problems or severe discomfort from not using a school toilet when they needed to.

The survey does not name schools individually, and we don?t think RMGS was part of the survey anyway, but we wondered if anything has changed in our loos since our original article. The most obvious improvement (perhaps attributable to our original campaign) is that virtually all the toilets now have identical, new, paper dispensers. The dispensers are the same in boys, girls and staff toilets and hold much more paper than before. Secondly, we have also noticed that more ?air-fresheners? have appeared (although exactly how ?fresh? they are is dubitable.

Although there have been the aforementioned improvements, Overmark still wants more. It would like to see toilets, especially those in the A,C,D,N areas totally re-fitted. We feel that if the school were to fit new toilets, and keep them maintained then students would respect this and we wouldn?t see as much vandalism. One idea is that CCTV could be used to monitor people going into and out of the toilets, thiscould also help prevent students bunking in the toilets .. of course we don't want camera's in the cubicles - we don't endorse voyeurism - all that we feel would be necessary would be to have some on the sink areas. Edit Note: Corrections made as requested by The Bog Standard Initiative, which does not endorse CCTV in cubicles as previously implied, but discusses it as a contentious but possible idea, installed only after consultation with students, and only for monitoring either the main entrance to the toilet block or in sink areas

This will of course all cost money, but we feel it?s a necessary investment. The Bog Standard group have compiled what they call the Bog Standard Charter. We have listed their points below, and they also have a poster format which they would like to see displayed in toilets.

1. Pupils must be allowed to use the toilet whenever they need to.
2. There must be enough toilet cubicles for girls and boys.
3. Toilet cubicles must be private and have doors that lock.
4. Pupils with special needs must have suitable toilets that they can get to and use easily.
5. Toilets must be looked after properly and not smell.
6. Warm water and soap must be provided, plus towels or hand dryers.
7. There must be enough toilet paper in all cubicles.
8. Sanitary products and sanitary disposal units must be provided in toilets for girls aged eight and over.
9. Toilets must be free from bullies and smokers.
10. Schools must have a policy to keep pupils' toilets clean and in good condition.
11. Pupils must be involved in managing and improving their toilets.
12. All complaints about toilets must be taken seriously.

You can find our more about the Bog Standard Initiative at their website. You can also read the whole MYP report, including lots of quite scary statistics here. Our original article is available here.