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IWD 2020: Ensuring pupils have access to toilets during lesson times

March 3, 2020 4:02 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Every day, girls at school are being teased, bullied or even humiliated and punished for being on their period. Equally, children with medical conditions face similar stigma.

Many girls starting their periods are being denied access to the toilet during school lessons, with some schools even enforcing a blanket ban on children going to the toilet in lesson time.

A survey for Plan International UK found that more than half of girls aged 14-21 had missed class because they were worried about being on their period.

That's why ahead of International Women's Day, I have put forward legislation to help ensure pupils have access to toilets during lesson times:

School Toilets (Access During Lessons) Bill

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to publish guidance for state-funded schools on allowing pupil access to toilets during lessons; and for connected purposes.

The Bill would force the Secretary of State to publish guidance for state-funded schools enabling teachers to use their common sense in letting their students go the bathroom during their lessons.

It's key that we support teachers to act flexibly and sensitively when letting children use the toilet. That starts with the Government publishing compulsory guidance explaining why blanket bans on using the toilet in lesson time is problematic.

No child should miss out on their education because of their period or a medical condition. I hope to see the Conservatives take forward my Bill in supporting all students in getting the education they deserve.