School heeds industry concerns for student wellbeing in annual fundraising campaign
The state of school toilet blocks has been derided for decades, and is still a major issue for many schools according to a recent article in the Times Education Supplement, but Beaconsfield High School has taken the decision to not only refurbish its facilities, but also hand over the interior design reins to its students in a bid to protect their wellbeing.
Beaconsfield High School, known for its exceptional results and status as the joint second best grammar school in the UK, chose the toilet refurbishments as the project for its 2018-19 annual fundraising campaign because of its concerns that students may not be using the facilities and therefore impacting their health. The school has, for a long time, been one of the worst hit in the spending cuts on state schools across the UK, and so its building conditions have naturally deteriorated over the years, including its toilet blocks.
Rachel Smith, Headteacher, comments: “Our students have expressed their concerns over the quality of our toilet facilities so it had to be the refurbishment for this year’s community fundraising project. We created a Toilet Working Party and provided the students with brochures and samples in order to make decisions about all aspects of the blocks, from the colour of the cubicles to the style of sinks, and the inclusion of automatic taps and flushes for better hygiene and durability.”
Phase 1 is underway, funded by the school, and the toilets are reminiscent of something from a modern office block or perhaps even a hotel. This contemporary and quality feel was a must for the Toilet Working Party, who wanted to ensure that students felt a sense of respect for the facilities, but also that they felt comfortable using them.
Mrs Smith continues: “It is a reality that students avoid using toilets in school because of faulty fittings and fixtures, and a perception that they are unclean – when toilets haven’t been refurbished for a number of years they will be off-putting. We needed to ensure that our students felt comfortable using the facilities throughout the day, and didn’t avoid drinking enough water or eating during their breaks. Each day is full on for our students, who are ambitious to learn and succeed, and sustenance and being comfortable are top of our list for their wellbeing.”
The fundraising campaign is focused on raising the funds for Phase 2, which the school’s budget will not stretch to in this academic year. The fundraising is off to a flying start, after students raised £11,000 in sponsorship at the House competition fun run. Next up is a virtual shopping list; the opportunity for the community to donate to the project via the school’s Shopify account. There are varying donation amounts for every budget, and the transaction mirrors online retailers to make it a quick and secure way to support the campaign and, ultimately of course, the students’ wellbeing.
Read the Times Education Supplement article: The dangers of pupils avoiding school toilets