Last updated at 11:27 PM on 3rd June 2011
Zero toilet tolerance: Trinity headteacher Patricia Deus
Primary school pupils whose parents have failed to potty-train them may be banned from classes.
In the latest sign of declining parenting skills, the head of one school has revealed that her staff are ‘spending a considerable amount of time’ taking pupils to the loo.
Now she has written to the parents of all foundation-stage children – aged between three and five – warning that they won’t be allowed to attend unless their toilet skills are brought up to scratch.
The ultimatum comes after teaching unions warned that children were attending primary schools and nurseries while still in nappies.
Some schools are having to take on extra staff so pupils can be toilet-trained without teachers’ valuable time being wasted on the task.
Family experts blame a combination of declining parenting skills, our increasingly modern lives and an ethos that children should be left to develop at their own pace.
The latest warning was circulated to parents of children at Trinity Catholic Primary School in Liverpool’s inner-city Vauxhall area.
Head teacher Patricia Deus wrote: ‘We have a number of children entering foundation stage who are not properly toilet-trained. Staff are spending a considerable amount of time dealing with this.
‘Unless your child has been diagnosed with a medical condition, it is not our job to toilet-train them.
Damning: Ofsted inspectors said that 'children enter nursery with skills that are well below those typical of children their age in all areas'
‘This is a parent’s responsibility and you may be asked to keep your child at home and work with them until they are fully toilet-trained.’
Trinity primary, which also has a nursery, serves one of the most deprived areas of Liverpool with an above-average proportion of children entitled to free school meals.
Ofsted inspectors noted that pupils enter Trinity’s nursery ‘with skills that are well below those typical of children their age’.
Tam Fry, of the Child Growth Foundation, said it was ludicrous for teachers to be wiping pupils’ bottoms and blamed a breakdown in ‘family support networks’ and an erosion of parenting skills.
‘Potty training is not an easy task and parents may be short of time,’ he added.
‘For some, school is seen as the only place they can send their children to while they work.
‘But it is not the job of teachers to be toilet-training and if it is not done by parents, then it should be done by specific support staff.’
Most children are potty-trained by the age of two or three.
But experts say modern nappies may delay the process by reducing children’s discomfort when wet.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers says many of its members have expressed concern about dealing with children who are not toilet-trained.
Many schools now run parenting classes after reporting children starting nursery unable to speak or to drink except out of a bottle.
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When I wanted to potty train my children at 18mnths. i was told by the Health visitors and various other professionals "not to rush" and some even said don't attempt it until 2 - 2half! I ignored them. It is not 'lazy' parenting in many cases - but parents brainwashed into following stupid ideas from so called 'professionals', many of whom have never had kids! AND they constantly change what they think is right. Over nannying and focussing on 'child centred' rearing to a detrimental degree.
- Nix, Hampshire, 03/6/2011 17:28
Personally, I couldn't wait for my daughter to be potty trained - I couldn't afford to keep on with nappies for any longer than I had to! We started just after her second birthday, and it took just a few days to get her dry (except for the odd accident) during the day. Our local schools and playschools all had a rule about not taking children who weren't dry. I can't think of one child who wasn't dry by aged 3, never mind 4. Yes, there were accidents, but everyone expects a few of those! What is being described here is just lazy parenting - if it is left to go on, they'll be starting junior school in nappies next! Nothing to do with inclusivity, this is a basic human skill for all except special needs children.
- Dot, Northampton, 03/6/2011 17:28
It's true that a number of children now start school without being toilet trained. It also happens to be one of the hotly debated issues on the forums, with mothers being aghast that teachers are unwilling to wipe bottoms. These doting parents also seem to find it funny that their four year old wiggles its bottom in the air to be wiped. This is outside a teachers' remit. After the first term (when we do allow some leeway), if a child who is not SEN regularly soils him/herself, we call the parents to change the underwear. This generally spurs them into action to get doctors' appointment and toilet train post haste! I blane Huggies! What a lazy way to wee!
- gh, somewhere in the uk, 03/6/2011 17:18
Sadly Labour have instilled the idea that if you have children they will be paid for and brought up by the government, and you can sit back while they're being babysat at school and reap the benefits of your free house. When I was at primary school if a child soiled them self they would be ridiculed by the other children; if that's what you want for your child that makes you a bad parent, there I said it.
- Adam, Bournemouth, 03/6/2011 17:00
A few children may be wearing spec ial pants to school because they have the odd accident. Don't children sometimes wet the bed at night? With so many more children starting nursery school because of the free places, you would expect to see a greater variety of toilet skills and see more children who have toilet accidents. The reception intake is taking all four year olds in one september intake. Again there are some only-just four year olds so obviously there are some children who will need help. Bear in mind all the special needs primary schoolchildren and all the conditions that they are diagnosed with,They need help with many other things so is it any wonder therefore that some need help with the loo! Most of us are so fortunate that our children are dry day and night at an early age, It is not up to us to apportion blame or make assumptions.
- LK, UK, 03/6/2011 16:55
How utterly revolting - having to deal with other people's children's incontinence - teachers are teachers not nurses or nannies. I would have been very ashamed if my children were not able to look after themselves in that way by the time they started school! (And my children could knew their alphabet too by the time they were 4). Honestly, todays parents are beyond belief.
- manda, London UK, 03/6/2011 16:31
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