Are you ‘peeing’ serious? High school takes doors off pupil toilets

The new signs for the Hewett Academy at the school. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The new signs for the Hewett Academy at the school. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

A secondary school has defended its decision to take the doors off its pupil toilets.

The Hewett Academy in Norwich has removed the external main doors from all but one of its toilets to make them "open plan".

The school, in Cecil Road, said the change had been suggested by pupils and that it would improve pupil safety "without compromising privacy" - but some parents are yet to be convinced by the move.

A relative of one pupil labelled the decision "disgusting" and said it gave children "no privacy".

Open plan toilets - for both boys and girls - are becoming more commonplace in high schools around England, with most of those which opt for them claiming to have done so for safety reasons.

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The trend, along with that for unisex toilets, is said to reduce the potential for bullying and vandalism.

But parents and carers have raised concerns about the privacy implications of open plan toilets, as other pupils - and potentially CCTV cameras - in the corridors could see inside.

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A spokesperson for Inspiration Trust, which runs The Hewett Academy, said: "Open plan toilets, with individual private cubicles, are common place in schools nowadays, as they improve safety and can reduce the potential for bullying, without compromising privacy.

"The change was first suggested by prefects and the school council and has been very positively received by pupils."

Many people on social media said the architectural trend for open plan toilets was now common, with other high schools in Norfolk having already made the change.

One commenter on Facebook said their child's school also had no external toilet doors and supported the configuration as it mean toilets could be better monitored.

Another said it was now standard practice for school toilets to have no external doors and an open plan handwashing area.

Another felt the school had made the decision to prevent vandalism - and potentially more dangerous acts - taking place in the toilets.

But some people were not in agreement, claiming the open plan design would cause a lack of privacy for pupils.

One Facebook commenter asked: "How can anyone especially young ladies cope with this?"

Another said: "If this was common when I was at school I think I'd be holding it in [un]til I got home."

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