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Appropriate toilet specification can help meet special needs

Written by Angela May Published: 5 November 2019

Local authorities are being encouraged to look to school toilets to help address the requirements of the growing numbers of pupils with special needs.

special needs in schoolsClosomat, Britain’s only manufacturer of smart toilets for disabled people of all ages, maintains its equipment enables pupils with special needs to deal with their intimate hygiene with little or no intervention from support staff. A Closomat toilet can be used as a conventional WC. It has additional, integrated washing and drying functions, eliminating the need to manually wipe and ensuring optimum hygiene. Thus it delivers optimum cleanliness for all pupils, and future-proofs a school, whether or not it currently has SEND pupils on its roll.

Closomat’s call follows new figures showing that the number of pupils with special needs has risen for the third year in a row, now standing at almost 15% of the total pupil population in England alone, and as the Government signals additional SEND funding.

“The Government’s latest briefing paper (*) specifically itemises using the toilet as typical of the support a child might receive,” observes Robin Tuffley, Closomat marketing manager. “School specification requirements already state that toilet facilities must be adequate with regard to any special requirements a pupil may have. Evidence shows that lack of suitable toilet facilities impacts on the health & wellbeing of pupils and staff. It affects pupils’ ability to learn and develop their social and care skills. Suitable toilets, that children feel happy to use, can help achieve better value and use of resources.

“We all recognise that school budgets are under pressure, but something as simple as providing the most appropriate toilet solution to help pupils ‘go’ without support makes best use of staff resources too. Research shows in primary schools alone, teachers spend 1MILLION hours- almost 460,000 days- each year cleaning children after they’ve been to the toilet. The cost of installing a wash & dry/ smart toilet is quickly amortised against the enhanced availability of staff for practical teaching and classroom support.”

(*) House of Commons Briefing Paper: Special Educational Needs: support in England no 07020, published 02/10/19

Closomat Limited, Building 1, Brooklands Place, Brooklands Road, Sale Cheshire, M33 3SD