The Mail is reporting parents at a Northampton school who are unhappy (or ‘outraged’) that teenage boys and girls at a secondary school are now sharing unisex toilets…
Moulton School, Northampton, merged two blocks last month in a bid to cut bullying in ‘intimidating’ single-sex toilets.
But parents said the move could have the opposite effect – and teenagers with ‘raging hormones’ may shift their amorous liasons away from the bike sheds and onto school property.
Mother-of-two Jayne Poole, 39, said: ‘If the kids are dating there will be no more “round the back of the bike sheds” – it will be the toilets they escape to.
‘At a time of raging hormones and teenage angst they need their own personal and separate space.
‘I think this is a very bad idea.’
Headteacher Trevor Jones is believed to have made the controversial decision with the backing of school governors.
He said: ‘We want to provide excellent facilities for our students and this design is intended to reduce both bullying and vandalism, as traditional toilet areas can be intimidating and unpleasant areas for students to go into.’
There are also other toilets in the school which have remained single-sex-only.
But the mixed toilet, which has two boys’ and two girls’ cubicles with a shared wash basin and hand dryer, has annoyed parents in other ways.
It has no mirrors, supposedly to stop it becoming a social hub.
One parent, who did not want to be named, said: ‘Girls, especially teenagers, care about their appearance, even more so when they are at a school with boys, so to remove the mirrors is ridiculous…
Former headteacher Chris McGovern, 62, is the chairman of the volunteer parents’ group the Campaign For Real Education and worked as a teacher for 35 years.
He said he was ‘extremely sceptical’, adding: ‘It may actually increase bullying because it is an area that teachers will rarely go – it could drive bullying underground, behind closed doors, in a way.
‘There’s no reason why it will possibly reduce any form of bullying.
‘Toilets are, and should be, private for both sexes. Mixing them could cause a disaster and children would probably want to have separate toilets.
‘Pupils are under enough pressure as it is in school.
‘I do believe it will be worse for the girls – and I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the students don’t want to go to the toilet while they are in school.
He added: ‘It seems to be an exceptional decision, I haven’t heard many like this before. It doesn’t seem logical at all.’
…Headteacher Mr Jones said: ‘The new area is being used regularly and safely, and the only adverse comment that has come from the students is regarding the absence of mirrors; a deliberate decision to avoid toilet areas becoming areas for social gathering.’
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