Connect with us

Education

Pupils plan protest over strict toilet rules at Neale Wade Academy

Avatar photo

Published

on

EXCLUSIVE – A Cambridgeshire school reacted to a protest being planned on Monday by students angry that they have been banned from going to the toilet during lessons.

Student protest organisers circulated via social media precise details of their demonstration at the Neale Wade Academy, March.

“Monday, after form at 9.20am will all meet in the atrium,” says the message obtained by CambsNews.

It then goes on to invite students to walk throughout the school with the hope that “more and more people will join.

“We’ll only stop once they get the point that we have human rights, and we deserve to go the toilet when we need to.”

The message ended: “Good luck and share quickly”.

Graham Horn was appointed as principal at Neale-Wade Academy in September 2020. He started his career as a teacher in Cambridgeshire and has been a senior leader for 18 years

Graham Horn was appointed as principal at Neale-Wade Academy in September 2020. He started his career as a teacher in Cambridgeshire and has been a senior leader for 18 years

Principal Gary Horn sent out an urgent email today urging parents and carers “to take the time to discuss the issues with your children and look at ideas that can be put into action soon”.

Mr Horn said Neale-Wade students were influenced by a “social media trend that is encouraging school-based protests”. He knew of several protests at other Cambridgeshire schools on Friday.

He said toilet access and safety toilets was a “shared concern and has been discussed regularly by leaders.

Neale-Wade to spend £100,000 upgrade on toilets

“We have refurbished toilets and have planned further work at Easter to ensure all toilets are in an acceptable condition.

“This comes at great cost and the planned work will amount to more than £100,000.”

Mr Horn said: “Currently we allow students to access toilets at all times of the day” (A claim refuted by some parents and students).

“It is ridiculous that the school doesn’t allow access to toilets: a basic human right which every workplace respects: so why can’t schools'

“It is ridiculous that the school doesn’t allow access to toilets: a basic human right which every workplace respects: so why can’t schools”

He added: “During lessons this is done by asking permission from teachers. Students can then access individual toilets during this time. The main concern is accessing larger school toilets throughout the day.”

Mr Horn said the school had trailed opened these toilets for longer hours but “sadly on Friday, significant damage was done to the refurbished toilets. This damage was in the cubicle and therefore cannot be observed.”

He said: “We share students concerns.”

The school was planning a series of activities tomorrow (Monday) to diffuse the situation.

These will include each year group being able to access an assembly and student forum on the subject.

Questionnaires will follow together with a “problem-solving group to discover the way forward”.

Student protest organisers circulated via social media precise details of their demonstration at the Neale Wade Academy, March. “Monday, after form at 9.20am will all meet in the atrium,” says the message obtained by CambsNews.

Student protest organisers circulated via social media precise details of their demonstration at the Neale Wade Academy, March. “Monday, after form at 9.20am will all meet in the atrium,” says the message obtained by CambsNews.

Mr Horn pledged: “We will open all the toilets tomorrow because of their views.”

He said protests on Friday elsewhere “were not always orderly and were disruptive. “Neale-Wade Academy is ‘our’ school and there having strong views and opinions is welcomed to enable us to improve.

“I would ask, though, that when discussing these issues, to get a positive outcome, sensible and coherent conversations are held. With structures in place, I hope you will take the time to discuss the issues with your children”.

However, many parents feel the school has already broken its promise to keep toilets open.

One parent said: “There is a student led protest planned for tomorrow at Neale-Wade Academy.

“This is all to do with the dictatorship style of leadership within the school and the ridiculous restrictions that have been issued towards use of the toilets during the school day.

“These kids/young adults have a legal right to use of a clean and sanitary bathroom, at all times.

“Instead, the leadership team have now made it almost entirely impossible for anyone to access the toilets.”

Personal needs and urine infections

The parent added: “What happens when girls of a certain age need to tend to their personal needs in order to stay clean and hygienic?

“Some kids are experiencing urine tract infections as they aren’t allowed to relieve themselves.

“The whole situation is disgusting and I for one, fully support all that choose to participate in tomorrow’s peaceful protest.”

One student described the principal’s letter as “a complete lie”.

“We have been told that our toilets are closed in the morning by our head of years and the toilets are not open for an hour during break and lunch,” he said.

“Since our break is only 25 minutes and our lunch is 35 minutes that would mean it goes into our lesson time.

“Our teachers have obviously heard that everyone knows how they have treated us and tried to cover it up, but it’s all lies and no they do not let us go during lessons since nearly every time I ask to go, I get told no I can’t go since it’s the school rule.”

Another parent said: “My daughter is never allowed to use the toilet during lesson times: even when she is on her period which is very heavy and often results in ‘accidents’ if she is unable to get to a toilet.

Basic human right challenge

“It is ridiculous that the school doesn’t allow access to toilets: a basic human right which every workplace respects: so why can’t schools!

“I bet the teachers can use the toilet whenever they need to.”

One other parent said: “My daughter was refused to go to the toilet during lesson.

“I’ve always told her if she’s really desperate to go then just go so she did (she also had explained to the teacher that she really needed to go but still wasn’t allowed) she returned from the toilet to be removed from that teacher’s class and given a C4 (after school detention) for it.”

Plenty of other parents have sided with their children.

They refused my daughter despite a letter from consultant,” said the mum. “She had over six weeks in hospital and for recovery. There are no human rights at Neale-Wade!”

“Personally, I don’t think none of the students should need to ask permission. I think it should be a simple ‘I’m going to the toilet’ and then give them 5/10 minutes.”

One mum said: “I think they need to come up with a solution, the toilets should be open all day.

“I know a lot of kids skip class to go vape in there, this is why they get locked, so they need to find a way to make sure kids are allowed to use the toilet if needed and not to just go vape in there.”

She added: “I have also emailed the school several times about toilet use, you should be allowed to use the loos whenever you need to. The school needs to get the vandalism and vaping under control and banning toilet use is not the way to go about that.”

Another parent added: “My daughter has been refused to go to the toilet in lessons on many occasions, they don’t care about if kids have anxiety issues or that they try not to drink or eat too much while at school because of how they feel.

“Seems there is also the same groups of girls that just like to hang out in the loos making others uncomfortable to use them especially when the loos have no lock.”

 

Facebook

Read More

Say NO to Sunnica campaign group has mounted a massive effort to stop the solar farm PHOTO: Say NO to Sunnica Say NO to Sunnica campaign group has mounted a massive effort to stop the solar farm PHOTO: Say NO to Sunnica
News1 day ago

Labour approve 2,500 acre Sunnica solar farm on Cambridgeshire/Suffolk border

Government also drops 9-year ban on onshore windfarms

Peterborough City Council told CambsNews: ‘Following the recent identification of poisonous hemlock plants on land at Thorpe Meadows, we have worked to restrict access to this area.’ PHOTO: Terry Harris for CambsNews Peterborough City Council told CambsNews: ‘Following the recent identification of poisonous hemlock plants on land at Thorpe Meadows, we have worked to restrict access to this area.’ PHOTO: Terry Harris for CambsNews
Peterborough City Council1 day ago

Poisonous hemlock forces closure of Thorpe Meadows, Peterborough

The signs warn visitors of ‘toxic poison hemlock on site’

Carlyle-Parker, from Wisbech, later pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, actual bodily harm and dangerous driving Carlyle-Parker, from Wisbech, later pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, actual bodily harm and dangerous driving
Crime1 day ago

Wisbech man jailed for ‘horrific attack’ on his partner whilst their child was in the car

'He put all their lives and the lives of other road users at risk'

Human trafficker suspect detained in Whittlesey told police ‘they want me? about what?’ before being advised of his rights and bundled into a police van. Human trafficker suspect detained in Whittlesey told police ‘they want me? about what?’ before being advised of his rights and bundled into a police van.
Crime2 days ago

WATCH: Human trafficker suspect held in Whittlesey on European arrest warrant

Suspect spotted speeding in Bellmans Road arrested in Sycamore Road

NewRiver Retail plan to demolish the car park to make way for a new food store but have not given details of which supermarket chain wants to move in. NewRiver Retail plan to demolish the car park to make way for a new food store but have not given details of which supermarket chain wants to move in.
News2 days ago

360-space Horsefair Wisbech car park to be demolished to make way for new store

The multi-storey car park is attached to Horsefair Shopping Centre

Recycling facilities in March are set for a £4m upgrade, after Cambridgeshire County Council agreed for a replacement. Visual of the new household recycling centre Recycling facilities in March are set for a £4m upgrade, after Cambridgeshire County Council agreed for a replacement. Visual of the new household recycling centre
Cambridgeshire County Council2 days ago

Green light for £4m recycling centre at March despite 17 per cent hike in costs

Cambridgeshire has 9 household waste recycling centres

Protect Local Peterborough (PRP) is a campaign to oppose proposals for a Township in the middle of open countryside. Protect Local Peterborough (PRP) is a campaign to oppose proposals for a Township in the middle of open countryside.
Your Views3 days ago

OPINION: ‘Fastest growing city in the UK’ is not a vision for the people of Peterborough

Fighting to prevent mass suburban sprawl in and around Castor and Ailsworth

Kuda Madondo Allison Clarke Niall James and Keith Johnson (002) Kuda Madondo Allison Clarke Niall James and Keith Johnson (002)
News3 days ago

Stagecoach East reveal ‘crème de la crème’ for Bus Driver of the Year awards

The contestants came from across Stagecoach East

Paul Bristow awaiting result of the count in Peterborough. Photo: Terry Harris Paul Bristow awaiting result of the count in Peterborough. Photo: Terry Harris
Politics3 days ago

Ex MP Paul Bristow says Tories must win back young people who voted Reform

'I’m proud to have secured £125 million for the city'

Image of what The Press will look like when complete: it set to deliver over 100,000 sq ft of fitted lab and office space through repositioning of Cambridge’s former printing press. Image of what The Press will look like when complete: it set to deliver over 100,000 sq ft of fitted lab and office space through repositioning of Cambridge’s former printing press.
Business3 days ago

Foxton, Cambridge development ‘responds to persistent shortfall in fit-for-purpose lab and office space’

New 100,000 sq ft Foxton science and innovation campus