Are Unisex Toilets Legal In Schools?
Unisex toilets are legal in schools, but for children aged 8 years and over, seperate toilet and washing facilities must also be provided for boys and girls, according to the Department of Education. Same sex washrooms pose a wealth of benefits to the school environment. However, the idea behind male and female students using the same washroom breaks away from tradition and leaves many parents questioning the practicality of their design. Unisex washrooms are absolutely legal in schools, with a wide number of schools turning to them for several key reasons.
What is a unisex toilet?
A unisex toilet or washroom is one that can be used by both male and female students alike. This usually involves an open communal hand washing area with toilet cubicles lined around the edge, or flanking the walls. Unisex toilets are being employed everywhere from event venues and restaurants to schools and work places.
How do gender neutral bathrooms work?
Gender neutral washrooms enjoy an open communal hand wash area where students can freshen after using the bathroom. This unisex space can be monitored by any and all teachers and due to it being gender neutral, this area doesn’t usually have a door to it from the main corridor, becoming more of an extension of communal space. In some cases, you might have girls cubicles down one side of the room, with boys cubicles down the other, though this is not always necessary as the hygiene and cleanliness of unisex washrooms is usually kept much higher by users than in traditional segregated bathrooms.
Do unisex bathrooms have urinals?
Yes, same sex washrooms often still have urinals, though they are always concealed individually within a toilet cubicle. However, for practicality, many schools opt to install toilet pans throughout. What you won’t find in a unisex washroom, is a urinal trough or any open urinal space as this maintains privacy and modesty for all users.
Why gender neutral bathrooms are important
Unisex washrooms have been shown to cut down bullying dramatically as it removes the closed-off confined spaces where this can commonly occur. The space can be more open by design, which also prevents vandalism and other misbehaviour as the area is used by a wider number of students, and can be monitored more effectively and by anyone on the faculty.
To see an example of how unisex washrooms can work in the school environment, view our case study on Shaftesbury School.
If you would like more information and advice on unisex washroom design, and how it can benefit your school, please get in touch with one of the team on 01202 650900