Is sharing toilets best for our children?

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Concerns have been raised by parents over boys and girls sharing the same toilet facilities at a primary school.

A newsletter from Carolside Primary School informed parents that infant and senior school toilets were being refurbished over the summer and in line with council policy, they are to be gender neutral.

A concerned parent told the Extra: “My main concern is the lack of privacy due to the gender neutral toilets.

“I emailed my local councillors and Alan Lafferty replied that he thinks there will be enough privacy as toilets will be floor to ceiling doors and only shared washbasins.

“But I still think that privacy when the children are entering puberty will be a big issue.

“I am happy with getting gender neutral provision in schools but do have some concerns over lack of choice for separate facilities, particularly with children hitting puberty early – an anxious time for them – and that the toilets are used to change for gym.

“Also there may be a risk of children getting locked in with floor to ceiling toilets, especially P1/P2.”

The lack of consultation has also been raised.

The parent added: “I do not feel there has been enough consultation or information being given to parents about this change.”

However, a council spokesman said: “Funding was only recently secured to upgrade the toilet facilities at Carolside Primary and as soon as plans were developed the school updated parents at the earliest opportunity.

“The school will monitor the use of the new toilets carefully and will continue to engage with parents as required.

“The council always aims to provide the best facilities possible for our pupils and are investing in upgrading some toilet areas this summer.

“In line with guidance from the Scottish Government, to allow gender neutral provision the replacement facilities will now provide individual cubicles for pupils to use, giving complete privacy, with shared hand washing and drying facilities.”

The spokesman continued: “Due to the fully enclosed cubicles being installed, access to the toilets will no longer require a main door which has benefits including significantly reducing the likelihood of inappropriate behaviour in school toilets, increasing levels of privacy and creating safer spaces for children and young people to use.”