National children’s continence charity ERIC (Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence) has launched a new campaign to improve support for the 1 in 12 children with bladder and bowel problems in schools. A toolkit is available via the ERIC website which explains why these problems develop and how schools can implement effective policies and procedures that support children’s health and wellbeing, and empower school staff. The campaign ties in closely with the new Children and Families Bill, which places a legal duty on schools to provide support to children with medical conditions. Guidance will soon be available to support the new legislation.
The Right to Go Campaign also aims to improve the quality of school toilet provision. Studies continue to show the high numbers of children who avoid using these facilities because they are dirty, smelly, lack basic provisions, are not private enough, or because children are not allowed to go to the toilet when they need to. Avoiding using the toilet can lead to continence problems developing, and children who avoid drinking and eating during the day will also suffer in terms of their ability to concentrate and learn.
Schools who are interested in improving toilet provision for pupils can apply for an ERIC School Toilet Award. So far around 50 schools across the country have taken part in the initiative and positive effects include improved pupil behaviour, morale and attendance, plus improved toileting policies that support children’s health and wellbeing.