Students protest about toilet breaks at Bedale School

Students at Bedale High School have taken to the school field to protest about new rules over going to the toilet.

It is understood that around 40 female students took part in the protest and police were called.

According to one parent, pupils have been told they can only go to the toilet between 11.05am and 11.25am, and 12.25pm and 12.45pm, also a statement issued by North Yorkshire County Council today says that toilets are accessible at all times.

The parent posted on social media: “I believe that this humiliating and undignified and is a breach of human rights to be denied access to toilets at any other time unless you have a medical need, and totally ridiculous to say that you cannot go to the toilet after you have had lunch.

“I have complained to the headteacher who has today sent me a letter stating that the rule will remain.”

Another parent told the Harrogate Advertiser: “They have stopped the children going to the toilet – they can’t go in lesson time which I suppose is understandable to an extent but they have also stopped them going for half of their lunch break.

“They can go between 12.25pm and 12.45pm and from then they can’t go to the toilet at all and lunch finishes at about 1.10pm.

“My daughter had stayed behind in her class to do extra work and then went to the toilet at 12.45pm but staff wouldn’t let her go.”

According to one report those involved have been excluded and will not be allowed to attend the school prom, although this has not been confirmed.

It is understood the steps have been taken to stop bad behaviour taking place in the toilets.

The issue has sparked wide debate on social media.

One person said: “I’ve seem the state of toilets that kids have left them in after a lunch time  – disgusting.

“The poor cleaners have to go into them night after night – I’m not saying all kids are like this but can see why head is doing this.”

Another added: “How do they expect the pupils to respect the headteacher when she allows such punitive measures.”

A parent said: “I spoke to a parent of a student who is bullied at the school.

“He said the toilets were used as a place where bullying was happening so this is why he thought the rule was in place.”

A statement issued today by North Yorkshire County Council said that Bedale High School had recently introduced a new behavioural code as part of an action plan to improve teaching and learning in the school.

The code includes measures to ensure that students are focused and can get the most out of their lessons and wider school provision, the statement said.

It added: “These measures include students having access to fresh drinking water at all times and being able to take bags into lessons so they have ready access to all the materials they need for learning.

“The code also includes tighter rules on uniform and on reducing the numbers of students outside of classrooms during lesson time.

“As part of this the school has reminded students that toilets are freely accessible during specific periods at lunchtime and break time but that students who need the toilet during lessons, or need access for medical reasons, will always be given access on request. Toilets are therefore accessible at all times.

“Bedale High is a school of 580 students and the vast majority today have participated fully and calmly with their lessons and wider provision.”

The county council said that the school had stated that families and students were fully informed of the new behaviour code before half term and that many had given supportive feedback and view it as a positive step.