A fresh row has broken out at a secondary school after it announced a new rule calling for pupils to explain to teachers why they need to use the toilet if they ask to go during lesson time.
One parent said Camborne Science and International Academy in Camborne, Cornwall, had ‘gone too far’ after being sent a letter on Monday, December 4, explaining the new guidelines.
The school said teachers have seen an ‘increasing number of students starting to use the toilet in the middle of the lesson, every lesson’. The letter encourages pupils to ‘check in’ with teachers and also states the rule ‘offers support in developing good habits for life’.
As a result of toilet breaks that ‘disrupt their learning’, any student who does go to the toilet during lesson time will now need to attend a mandatory meeting during their next break to explain their reasons for doing so, the school said.
This is not the first time parents have clashed with the school. In September, police were called to a protest at the school grounds over ‘harsh’ rules which stopped some children from drinking during the day to avoid using the restroom.
A protest at the school grounds in September over ‘harsh’ rules which stopped some children from drinking during the day to avoid using the restroom
Pupils and parents launched a protest against ‘harsh’ rules at Camborne Academy in Cornwall in September
Police were called to the protest in September as parents slammed a school’s strict new rules on toilet breaks
Parents also claimed their children were being punished for being a couple of minutes late and even for yawning.
However, in September, a video posted on Snapchat by pupils at the school showed the extent of the disruption.
Previously, children have been shown chanting outside the school gates.
But the footage shows them running riot through the corridors and shouting ‘school is s***’ while screaming and whooping.
Another voice – presumably that of a teacher – can be heard shouting ‘Hey hey hey!’ as they try to get the pupils under control.
In another video, some pupils begin scaling the school gate to raucous cheers from their classmates.
But Lisa Smith, a teaching assistant at a local primary school, has a child in year eight and has been horrified by the contents of the latest letter. She said she’s been understanding about a number of recently implemented rules but feels this one has ‘gone too far’ as her daughter is now too afraid to drink at school.
The 36-year-old, who lives in Camborne, said: ‘The letter came through late last night so I’ve seen it this morning and I’m just really shocked they would ask children why it is they need to use the toilet. I know that at a very young age if they were to ask me I’d have been really embarrassed.
‘Especially if you’ve got an upset tummy or a child who has just started their period. The first person you want to tell is your mum not just some stranger at school.
‘I’m a teaching assistant and I don’t have to explain myself to anybody when I need to use the toilet and there isn’t exactly a lot of time for the children to use the toilets anyway. They say they can go within their five minutes of lesson changing but there are not a lot of toilets in the school to begin with.
‘And now when they are asked to go and speak to the person to explain why they needed the toilet, this meeting is happening in their break time so they then can’t even go to the toilet when they are being told to.’
She feels the new rule will leave children more anxious and stressed.
Ms Smith said: ‘She doesn’t want to have to ever explain why she’s going to the toilet and that’s just not healthy. I’m really quite angry about this.
‘Loads of new rules have come in and some of them I do understand but this one has gone too far. I’ve tried ringing the school but every time you ring with a complaint they say no one is available and don’t ever contact you back.
In one video posted in September, some pupils begin scaling the school gate to raucous cheers from their classmates
In September, one mother (pictured) said her daughter has stopped drinking during the school day to avoid having to use the toilet
Parents also claimed their children they were being punished for everything from being a couple of minutes late to yawning
‘I’ve emailed previously about other things and never got an email or a phone call back either. It almost feels like they will contact you if they are suspending your child or if your child is ill and they need you but if you’ve got a problem, you can’t get hold of anyone.
‘I just find it really sad that children don’t want to go to school anymore, especially as when my daughter was an infant she thrived in school and always got good marks and did well. Since she has been at CSIA her learning has gone so downhill.’
A spokesperson for Camborne Science and International Academy said: ‘At the start of the year, parents, carers and students received information about the use of toilets during lessons: students are allowed to visit the toilet during a lesson but are encouraged to use before school, movement time, break time, lunchtime and after school. If they do use the toilet during a lesson, they are asked to come for a short ‘check-in’ conversation at break or lunch.
‘Students remain entitled to their breaks. The toilet check-ins provide our trained pastoral team with information to support students with their health and well-being. Additional and different measures are in place for students with medical needs.
‘The primary reason for speaking with students after the use of the toilet during lesson is to support their health and wellbeing, as well as safeguarding.’