A school’s decision to lock the toilets during lesson time has sparked more controversy on social media.

Royal Wootton Bassett Academy has faced previous criticism for its decision to stop children from accessing the toilet during lesson time.

In July 2023, the school responded to complaints by stating that the measure had improved pupil safety and kept toilets tidier.

“The toilets are and always have been open at the start of the day, end of the day, at break and lunchtime,” said headteacher Anita Ellis at the time.

But multiple parents have now reported that long queues during these times have left children coming home desperate for the toilet, or even leaving school grounds to use supermarket facilities.

“How 1,700 pupils are supposed to use the toilets within a short time is beyond me,” said Liz Mckellar, whose son attends the school.

One mum of a Year 7 pupil got in touch to say that her daughter is regularly unable to go to the toilet all day due to long queues at break and lunchtime.

“I only questioned it when my daughter kept coming home racing to the toilet because she was bursting for a wee,” she said.

“They’re not allowed to go in lesson time unless they have a toilet pass which you need a medical reason for.”

Another mother reported that her Year 7 daughter had left school grounds to go and use the toilets in the nearby Sainsbury's.

Swindon Advertiser: The academy has chosen to lock student toilets during lesson times.The academy has chosen to lock student toilets during lesson times. (Image: Getty Images)

However, in response to the social media complaints, Headteacher Anita Ellis has clarified that students and parents have been an active part of this decision:

"To be clear, students can ask to go to the toilet during lesson time if needed but we encourage them to go at the start or end of a lesson to minimise disruption to learning. 

"Students who require a medical pass can use this to gain access to toilets whenever it is needed and we are also mindful of females who may need to use the toilet due to their menstruation cycles.

"There is a full-time member of staff who as part of their duties oversees toilet access during lesson times and this ensures that there is access at all times for all students."

Since the approach was introduced, damage to school toilets is now reportedly non-existent and vape detectors have been installed to help students feel safe whilst using the toilets.

"As a result of the success of the approach, we are discussing amending it and as all students carry ID, they will in the near future be able to scan their IDs to access the toilets," added the headteacher.

"The queues exist at the start of break because each year group have their own toilets. This was requested by the students and allows the younger students to feel safer amongst their age peers.

"We carry out regular Student Voice on access to the toilets and students suggested that we should have staff monitoring the toilets, toilet passes, use of detectors, all of the strategies that we have deployed.

"This approach is carried out to keep students safe, prevent mal damage and costs as a result, and to enable access that will not impact on learning. It is not carried out to cause students harm," she clarified.