Parents at a school in Wales have been told that pupils will only be allowed to use the toilet during lesson time if they can provide a note from their doctor.
Yes, we kid you not, this really did happen.
The headteacher text parents of year 11 pupils at St Teilo’s Church in Wales High School in Cardiff asking them to kindly provide a medical note if their child needed to go to the toilet during lesson time.
The text read:
‘If your child needs to be allowed out of lessons to go to the toilet then please provide a medical note in the next week so they can be issued with a pass.’
Carolyn Maggs, whose 15-year-old daughter attends the school, told Wales Online she found the text message ‘appauling’. She said:
‘It’s absolutely disgusting.
‘I spoke to the doctor this morning and they said I would need to bring my daughter down for a check and there was a charge for the letter. I think it’s £25.
‘I’m now having to pay for my daughter to use the loo.’
Pupils at St Teilo’s Church in Wales High School must provide a doctor’s note to use the toilet during lesson time.
The school has since released a statement stating that the intention of the message was misinterpreted. Head teacher Ceri Weatherall said:
‘As a school, we believe that children are most safe when in class and under the supervision of a teacher. If a child is required to go to the toilet more than expected, we ask that parents alert us to this fact so that we can issue a pass to the child to take away any embarrassment or anxiety. Those children who use such passes report that their school experience is much improved as a result.
‘Our staff always exercise their professional judgement in allowing learners to leave lessons to use the toilet. This has been our normal practice for many years and the school has received no complaints to date. Schools, such as ours, face problems with some children using endless requests to go to the toilet as an excuse for missing class. As our lessons are only one hour in length, we believe that conditions which require children to use the toilet more regularly than this are very rare. In the vast majority of cases, it is appropriate that the medical note is written by a parent. In some circumstances, the school may ask parents to provide further evidence.
‘Our parents tell us that text messages are the easiest way to contact them and we regret that, on this occasion, a message from the school to parents of Year 11 pupils – pupils in their crucial final year of study – has led to misinterpretation. The intention was not to stop pupils using facilities if they needed to but to ensure those with medical conditions were allowed out as regularly as necessary without hindrance. The school has only received one complaint about the text.
‘We are grateful to parents and children who support the school’s practice on this issue and assure everyone that we continue to act in the best interests of all our learners.’