Free-ly open to all…

The North East’s first free school is now open, to all, through an innovative approach to pupils’ pastoral needs.

Cramlington Village Primary School in Cramlington, Northumberland, aims to focus on individual children’s needs. As part of that ethos, a key element of the new school is the creation of a fully accessible hygiene room, enabling pupils, regardless of learning needs, to aspire to optimum independence.

Supplied by the UK’s top accessible toilet equipment supplier, Closomat, the room features a height adjustable changing bench, height adjustable wash basin, hoist and Closomat Palma Vita wash and dry (automatic) toilet. Looking like a conventional WC, the Palma Vita has in-built douching and drying.

As a result, children who need help toileting can do so with minimal assistance, as equipment can be set at an appropriate height for them; equally, the Palma Vita helps develop personal skills in ensuring the infants can toilet and be hygienically clean – in line with Government guidelines – and also provides a compliant solution to dealing with ‘little accidents’.

Initially, the school has a Reception and Year One class, and will add a new Reception intake each year to offer an innovative curriculum for children from four years of age up to 11. School principal Debbie Wylie says, “We are focusing on individual children’s needs and integrating those into an innovative curriculum. We have aspirational targets, delivered in a flexible way to suit each child.

The hygiene room gives us a valuable resource in meeting those aims outside the classroom, and will help current and future pupils develop strong personal skills.

Adds Robin Tuffley, Closomat marketing manager.

Legally, schools have to provide at least 1 toilet for every 20 pupils, and accessible toilets for disabled pupils, staff and visitors. BB102 recommends that schools have a hygiene room, to accommodate the needs of growing numbers of children with special needs in mainstream schools. It also specifically states that toilet fixtures and fittings ‘should…help them develop personal care skills’. What could help them in that way more than a toilet that cleans and dries them afterwards, so they do not have to depend on a carer to wipe them?

Closomat is unique in being able to deliver, in house, design advice, supply, install, commissioning, and maintenance of all the equipment for a hygiene room or accessible washroom, toilet or changing room. It has over 50 years’ experience in the sector, whilst its Palma Vita is the only unit of its kind developed specifically for disabled people. Closomat is now the UK’s leading supplier of hygiene rooms and their public equivalent, Changing Places toilets.