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We have Mail: Mike Bone, Managing Director of the Loo of the Year Awards, writes...
I read the article 'Cleanliness can improve academic achievement and enhance student retention rates' in last week's Cleanzine with great interest. Loo of the Year Awards agree completely with cleanliness being an essential element of good education as well as good toilets.
Residents and visitors to the UK's towns and cities expect to find clean, hygienic and well maintained publicly accessible toilet facilities when they shop, eat, drink or just enjoy the attractions provided. Without this crucial provision they will find somewhere else to spend their time and money.
However, pupils and students in education, from early years and nursery school through to college, are not covered by legislation to determine or monitor the level and standard of provision of these most basic facilities.
Because of this, school toilets are often neglected due to this lack of regulations - perhaps also because other priorities get in the way - or perceived lack of funds.
Clean, hygienic and well maintained toilets are essential in all types of educational establishments including nurseries, primary and secondary schools and colleges. Educational establishments ideally provide facilities for all types of users including those with physical or severe and multiple learning difficulties.
Poor toilets - dirty, poorly maintained or inadequately equipped, present a serious health risk to children and youths, many of whom will not use unsatisfactory facilities provided and risk creating ongoing health problems for themselves. Inadequate provision, accessibility and maintenance of primary and secondary school toilets have been linked to the high number of children suffering from incontinence, constipation and other toilet related health problems.
Recognition and confirmation of good toilets in education is important to those nurseries, schools and colleges who care about their children and for 26 years Loo of the Year Awards has been successful in raising the standard of toilets throughout the UK. Any type of educational establishment's toilets can be nominated or entered in the competition.
Entries are received from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Every entry receives an unannounced, dedicated, inspection visit.
Entries gaining a bronze, silver, gold or platinum award are presented with a certificate - to help promote the Award winning facilities to pupils, staff and governors. There are Toilets in Education National and UK awards and trophies for the very best entries. The Awards are presented at a Presentation Event, which in 2013 will be held on Friday 6th December at the elegant four star St Johns Hotel in Solihull.
Individual schools and colleges, councils and county councils recognise their educational establishment's entries in the annual Loo of the Year Awards as a proven, cost effective and independent annual assessment of the standard of their toilet provision management and receive proper recognition through our annual grading scheme. Ceredigion County Council were awarded the UK Toilets in Education Trophy in 2012 and Staffordshire County Council, whose entries included a range of school types, won the Overall UK Loo of the Year Awards Trophy in 2012. Award winning toilets are part of a good education.
Anyone can nominate any number of 'away from home' loos and entries can also be made online via the Awards website. Closing date for entries is 31st July.
Mike Bone, Managing Director
For and on behalf of Loo of the Year Awards
T: +44 (0) 1403 258779 07836 637141
11th April 2013