School buildings need to be equipped to address more than disability to be inclusive, advises the UK’s leading provider of accessible toileting solutions Closomat.
The advice comes as new figures reveal the country’s changing social make-up:
- One in 12 pupils are officially classed as Muslim, prompting consideration to be given to the faith’s toileting etiquette (Qadaa' al-Haajah and istinja) where washing with water is required.
- A tenth of pupils have a continence issue.
- The number of disabled children has increased by more than 60% in 25 years.
- Some 60% of statemented children are in mainstream schooling.
- Almost 10% of FE students have a disability. The simple solution is the installation of a shower (wash and dry) toilet in place of a conventional WC, such as the brand leader, the Closomat Palma Vita. Looking like, and capable of being used as a conventional toilet, the version has integrated douching and drying. It ensures the user is effectively and consistently cleaned after toileting.
It ensures compliance with Islamic toilet considerations. It also helps address accessibility needs where relevant out of school hours when the building is open to community use. It ensures children with continence problems, or who have had a toilet accident, are enabled to be thoroughly clean after an incident.
It means children with disabilities can develop personal care skills without relying of support staff to assist.
“Even the new British Standard for accessible and inclusive buildings- which particularly references educational establishments, BS8300:2018, recognises that a shower/ wash & dry toilet in place of a conventional WC gives greater dignity and independence,” observes Robin Tuffley, Closomat marketing manager.
“Accessibility and inclusion tends to be taken as enabling disabled people to use a building. But full inclusion covers racial, religious, cultural and gender considerations. Education is about equipping pupils for life; that includes addressing and teaching them independence, personal skills. Schools need to adapt to address this- and that includes the fixtures and fittings, through to the toilets.”