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Study: Students Avoid School Toilets

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Safety

Tagged: , , , , ,

Published on October 25, 2010 with 1 Comment

Survey results from the UK relay this startling fact: children are deterred from using school toilets in secondary schools because they are dirty and occupied by smokers and bullies. A quarter of the 300 children surveyed by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) said they avoided toilets if possible.

The LSHTM ran a survey of UK schoolchildren to try and find out just what goes on in school toilets across Britain. The aim was to determine the state of hand washing facilities in UK schools, and to find out about the hand washing behavior of schoolchildren in the UK, and whether this differed depending on the age and gender of the pupils. The survey was sponsored by Teal, producers of mobile and portable hot water hand wash units since 1959.

Nearly 40% of secondary school girls reported ”holding it in” so they didn’t have to go to the toilet. And 16% of secondary school boys reported “bad things” happening in the toilets, making them wary of going in there. Over a third (36%) of pupils questioned said their toilets were never clean, with 42% saying soap was only available sometimes. Meanwhile, around a fifth (19%) said there was never any soap.

Mark Woodhead, chairman of the British Cleaning Council, said more action needs to be taken to protect children. “This survey has found hygiene in Britain’s school toilets to be inadequate. It is easy to blame the kids for poor hygiene, but clearly, the problem lies with poor and dirty facilities, particularly in secondary schools. Pupils deserve better than to be needlessly exposed to illnesses because there are not enough safe and clean toilets in our schools,” Woodhead stated.

Dr. Val Curtis of the LSHTM Hygiene Centre added, “Our survey has found hand washing in Britain’s schools to be less than ideal. It would be easy to blame laziness on the part of the kids for this state of affairs, but clearly the problem lies with inadequate and dirty facilities, particularly in secondary schools.”

About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at

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  1. How about placing sinks in the hallways outside the cafeteria and at the entrance to the schools?? Becoming “Hand Aware” is two steps closer to improved personal and public health.

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