New toilet design to tackle bullying
UNISEX wash basin areas could be built in schools to help tackle bullying.
The move is part of recommendations covering schools in England being rebuilt or refurbished as part of the Government's £45bn Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme.
BSF aims to rebuild or renew every one of England's 3,500 state secondary schools during the 15-year lifetime of the initiative.
The new guidelines were issued by the Government agency responsible for delivering the programme, Partnerships for Schools.
Toilets in Schools was published earlier this month and details new toilet block designs to be incorporated into all BSF schools.
It is hoped the new designs will combat bullying in secondary schools and make toilets more attractive, cleaner and safer for pupils to use.
The agency recommends making hand-washing areas unisex and more visible and placing toilet blocks opposite classrooms and staff to improve the way they are supervised.
Gravesham Teachers' Association secretary Brian Chadwick said: "Any improvement which helps reduce bullying to a minimum is something we would support.
"But this would only be the tip of the iceberg and we would expect schools to have checks in place to deal with bullying anyway."
Councillor Michael Snelling, who represents Gravesham Rural at Kent County Council, said: "The real problem with toilets is they are enclosed spaces but I think this can be designed out when we're building schools for the future."
As well as overhauling the design of toilets, the BSF programme will address anti-social behaviour through further design features.
Dead-end corridors and dark corners will be avoided and the general visibility in all parts of schools will be increased.
Other recommendations include having blurred glass cubicles and not having urinals.
Partnerships for Schools chief executive Tim Byles said: "Toilets in BSF schools will no longer provide bullies with places which lend themselves all too readily to anti-social behaviour."