Pupils lack toilet training

Melanie Defries
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

An increasing number of children are starting school without being potty trained, according to teaching unions.

In response to enquiries from members, the Association of Teachers andLecturers (ATL) has issued new guidance on what teaching and supportstaff should do if children wet or soil themselves in class.

The guidance says that in no circumstances should staff be expected totoilet-train children, unless this expectation is included in a staffmember's job description. Where children have not been potty trained,staff are advised to report the matter to their line manager so that theschool can take appropriate action.

Schools are advised to have clear policies on personal care and supportfor children while they are at school, which are understood by parents,children and staff.

The Voice teaching union confirmed that it has also heard anecdotalevidence from both early years practitioners and teachers that suggeststhat children are potty training at an older age.

Rosemary Stokes, a former teacher and chairman of Voice, said, 'Teachersare telling us more often that children are starting school who are nottoilet trained and that it is falling to teaching assistants to changethe children. One of the big issues is that changing children is notpart of a teacher's role, so who is supposed to being doing this?'

Some local authorities, including Leicestershire County Council, areputting together new guidance for schools and early years settingsadvising on the correct procedures for helping children who have notbeen toilet trained.

Eileen Jacques, information and helpline manager at ERIC, a charityspecialising in childhood continence, said, 'We are aware that a smallnumber of children start school before they have full bladder and bowelcontrol. However, teaching professionals should not be overly concerned,as there is a strong network of advice available. ERIC exists to supportparents, schools and health professionals with practical information ontoilet training and other childhood continence problems. I encourageanyone concerned about these issues to call our helpline on 0845 3708008 or visit www.eric.org.uk.'


View the ATL guidance at:www.atl.org.uk/help-and-advice/school-and-college/personal-care.asp.

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