In ordinary circumstances, a washroom or any public bathroom is simply seen as a place to visit the bathroom, wash your hands or even check the mirror. However, in a school environment, washrooms can sometimes create a hideaway away from obvious teacher monitoring, providing the opportunity for bullying to take place without reprimand.
Bullying can take many forms, including emotional bullying, physical bullying and cyberbullying. Regardless of the form it takes, we can all safely agree that bullying should never be tolerated in a school environment. This is especially since the effects of bullying can be felt long after a pupil leaves school even into adulthood, with 20% of all those bullied reporting mental health issues even at the age of 50 due to childhood bullying.
If students do feel fearful of using the toilet due to the potential of bullying, this can have serious mental and physical health consequences. Therefore, all schools have a responsibility to create a safe and welcoming environment for students.
For headteachers and facilities managers alike, we’ve put together the following guide on how to remove student fear surrounding school toilets, specifically in relation to the potential of bullying within these spaces.
School Bullying Statistics UK
- One in five children aged 10 to 15 years in England and Wales (19%) experienced at least one type of online bullying behaviour. This is equivalent to 764,000 children – Anti Bullying Alliance
- An impact survey found that 44% of people who experience bullying feel anxious, 36% feel depressed, and 11% feel suicidal – Statista
- 45% of lesbian, gay, bi and trans pupils – including 64% of trans pupils – are bullied for being LGBT at school – LGBT Foundation
- 80% of bus drivers say they have witnessed bullying on the school bus – Anti Bullying Pro
School Bullying And Washrooms
While there are lots of measures schools can take to reduce instances of bullying, the design, features and general policies of your school washrooms may not initially spring to mind as part of the plan of action.
However, as with all corners of the school grounds, if there is a potential for bullies to corner victims or target them unsuspectingly, then measures need to be taken to keep pupils safe.
Within the design of your washroom specifically, here are some of our top tips to reduce bullying and promote safety within washroom areas.
Have A Washroom Monitor Or Install CCTV
Students are a lot less likely to instigate bullying if they know someone is keeping a check on them. While washrooms must retain a sense of privacy, by the same token, it’s also possible to employ a member of staff who will monitor the volume of students. That way, if something suspicious is occurring (i.e. a large gang of students is causing a disturbance), then there’s someone on hand to immediately deal with the situation.
In addition, it is also legal to install CCTV in washrooms, so long as the camera does not face the cubicles. So, for instance, CCTV can record areas where students may accumulate in larger groups, such as by the hand basins or hand dryers. CCTV can also be installed by the entrance of washrooms, making it easier to identify any perpetrators of reported bullying within the washroom itself.
Install Unisex School Toilets
Bullying in school toilets has traditionally taken the form of single-sex bullying, seen as washrooms have always been categorised by gender. Now, the trend is moving very much towards unisex toilets, and this can have untold benefits in terms of reducing bullying.
Firstly, students are less likely to loiter if the washrooms follow much the same format of mixed gender as is the case with the rest of the school. This is in sharp contrast to the washrooms suddenly having different principles attached.
Also, students who may be transitioning with their gender will not face the difficult issue of switching which bathroom they use according to the gender they identify with. This in itself can be hugely stressful for students, especially with the fear of verbal abuse or physical attacks. Unisex school toilets remove this issue entirely.
Use Welcoming Colours And Design Aesthetics
If you’ve ever studied the colour wheel, then you’ll know that all colours have certain associations attached to them. These days, all aspects of a washroom can be tailored according to a particular colour scheme, including the cubicles, sanitaryware, flooring, walls, tiles or any paintwork. Some of the most calming colours include pink, along with shades that are reminiscent of nature, such as blues and greens. Another option is to choose ultra-neutral shades that instantly create a calming effect.
An added tip here is that many washroom fixtures and fittings are available with durable or anti-vandal technology applied. So as well as helping to stamp out bullying, such features can also reduce instances of vandalism within your washroom too.
School Washroom Installers UK
Are you looking to reduce the potential for bullying in your school? Inspired Washrooms designs and installs washrooms across the UK, including within schools. We can use our vast experience in the industry to help combat any issues that are prevalent in your school to ensure a safe and welcoming washroom experience for all pupils, staff and visitors.
Interested in starting a project with us? Download our Inspired Washrooms Brochure to view our full range of products and services.
For help and advice with anything we’ve mentioned above, please get in touch on 0115 671 3850, and our friendly team will get back to you.