A Liverpool school has warned pupils may have to be kept at home because they are not properly toilet-trained. Trinity Catholic primary, in Vauxhall, has sent out the official warning after telling parents that staff have “become increasingly concerned” that children at the Titchfield Street school are unable to go to the loo alone.
Headteacher Patricia Deus has told parents of foundation stage children, which covers the three to five-year-old age group, the problem is so bad that it is a “health and safety issue”. She said teaching staff are increasingly having to take time out to help younger pupils with toilet duties at the expense of actually teaching the children. And she has stressed that it is not the school’s job to toilet-train children, warning that parents may have to keep their children away until their bathroom skills are up to scratch.
In the written warning she said: “We have at the number of children entering foundation stage who are not properly toilet-trained. Staff are spending a considerable amount of time dealing with this and not only is it a health and safety issue, but it is also taking up valuable teaching and learning time. Unless your child has been diagnosed with a medical condition, it is not our job to toilet-train them. This is a parent’s responsibility and you may be asked to keep your child at home and work with them until they are fully toilet-trained.”
Health health experts have backed the school’s stance, saying it “is not teachers’ jobs to wipe children’s bottoms”. Tam Fry, honorary chairman of the Child Growth Foundation – a charity relating to children’s growth – said it was “ludicrous for teachers to be wiping pupils’ bottoms” and if need be the school should be given extra support staff. And he said the problem stemmed from a general breakdown in “family support networks” and an erosion of parenting skills.