Toilet training children is not a teacher's job, says Ofsted chief

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Parents need to teach their children to use a toilet before they start school, says Ofsted. [Photo: Getty]

Teachers are tasked with looking after children who are not toilet trained, a report from the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) will tell.

Being able to use a toilet is a basic requirement for children to do before the start school, according to Ofsted guidelines.

Children of reception age are also expected to recognise their own name, to sit still and listen and to be able to take off their coats and put on their shoes.

However, it seems parents are failing to teach toilet training to their school-age children, as Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector at Ofsted, says an increasing number of children start reception without knowing how to use a toilet.

She says: “This is difficult for teachers, disruptive for other children and has a terrible social impact on the children affected. This is wrong.

“Toilet training is the role of parents and carers and should not be left to schools.

“Only in the most extreme cases should parents be excused from this most basic of parenting tasks.” 

She will discuss the issue tomorrow as part of her second annual report as chief inspector.

Also addressed in the report was the issue of child obesity.

Spielman will highlight the statistic that almost a quarter of children are overweight or obese by the time they start primary school, while this goes up to a third of children starting secondary school.

Although some schools go to lengths to enforce proper nutrition in lunch boxes, Spielman does not consider it their duty to prevent child obesity.

“Schools cannot take over the role of health professionals – and above all parents.”

Finally, the issue of knife crime against under-25s – rising from 3,900 crimes in March 2013-2014 to 6,500 over the same period in 2018 – will be addressed.

Spielman will say, while she supports zero tolerance policies in UK schools, schools cannot be held responsible.

“While schools can play a role in educating young people about the danger of knives, they cannot be a panacea for this particular societal ill.”

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