An Ofsted inspection is one of the most important events in the life of a school. It’s an experience that few teachers relish, but the outcome can have a huge impact on the reputation of a school. Perhaps it’s for this reason that teachers and headteachers feel such pressure when the call comes, knowing the overall effect that an ‘outstanding’ or an ‘inadequate’ grade can have.
If Ofsted are due to visit your school shortly, did you know that washroom checks are carried out during their visit? It may not be top of their list of concerns, but it can have an impact on your overall rating. In addition to this, if fault is found with your facilities, parents will be able to read about it in the Ofsted report.
So, if Ofsted are due to visit your school, what washroom elements should you be focusing on? To help you out, we’ve put together a few pointers taken from the Department for Education’s official guidelines: ‘Advice on standards for school premises’.
Hygiene is of course paramount in any school washroom, and any failure on the behalf of the school to provide a hygienic washroom environment for its pupils will be reflected in the Ofsted report.
Here are some of the hygiene elements you should account for before Ofsted arrive:
- Suitable toilet and washing facilities should be provided for the sole use of pupils
- Water temperature from the taps should not exceed 43°C to allow children to wash their hands without risk of scalding
- Sufficient paper towels and soap should be made available in the washroom
Privacy is another important element in the design of any washroom, but particularly in the school environment. Children should be able to visit their school washroom in safety and in privacy.
Here are some things to look out for to make sure the privacy of your pupils is protected:
- Separate toilet facilities should be provided for boys and girls aged 8 years and over (except in facilities that can be locked from the inside, and are designed for the use of one pupil at a time)
- Toilet facilities should allow for staff inspection, while still ensuring the privacy of the pupils. This means that open plan hand washing areas are fine, that door locks must be working, and that modesty screen should separate urinals.
The design of your washroom will in many respects determine how hygienic and private it is for your pupils to use. There are also specific design elements and flaws that Ofsted will be on the lookout for, including:
- Insufficient signs to distinguish between boys and girls bathrooms
- Disabled toilets should be designed containing one toilet, one washbasin, and should have a door which can be secured from the inside
- Hand washing facilities are provided in the immediate vicinity of every toilet
- Washrooms are adequately ventilated and lighted
It is not unusual for a school washroom to be slightly overlooked or even neglected. With so many elements to manage in the school, and budgets often stretched, washrooms are often at the bottom of the list of priorities. Nevertheless, school washrooms are crucial to the wellbeing of your pupils, and are recognised as such by Ofsted. To ensure that both your pupils and Ofsted are satisfied, take the time to ensure your washroom is in top condition today.
If you’re considering refurbishing your school washrooms then Focus Washrooms can assist you. We provide total washroom refurbishment for your school, offering high-quality products and services of great value, on time. Our range of washroom furniture is created specifically for schools, and features a wide choice of designs, robust fittings and a choice of height options – encouraging both hygiene, privacy and safety.