Handsworth Grange: Parents complain about Sheffield school’s policy of locking toilets during lessons

Handsworth Grange Community Sports College has started the new term with a policy of locking its toilet blocks during lessons.

They are reportedly only fully open before lessons, during breaks, lunchtime and after the school day.

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Handsworth Grange Community Sports College has stood by its policy of locking toilets during class time, despite criticism from parents who say their children are struggling.

Pupils who need a comfort break for any reason during class need to ask permission, sign out a key to the toilet block from reception and return it before going back to class.

Headteacher Nicholas Parker says his staff are “sensitive to and support the needs of our students”.

But parents have criticized the policy.

They say their children are reportedly queuing for the toilet for much of their half-an-hour lunch breaks, at the expense of getting to eat in time.

Others say their children have been embarrassed or reprimanded for needing to go during class time.

One parent told The Star: “My daughter needed to go during class because she thought her period had started and didn’t want to explain that in front of 30 other children.

“She asked twice, politely, but was told no.

“Eventually she just said she was going. The teacher said she would be put in isolation if she walked out and she said that was fine, as long as she got to go.

“My son, meanwhile, says he was bursting and got told no twice, to the point he started crying. When a girl got up and put an arm around him, she got threatened with detention and he still wasn’t allowed to go.”

Dozens of posts on Facebook community groups have also criticized the school.

One mom said:[My son] also mentioned the toilet situation and was told they are teaching them to manage to hold and go at break but always massive queues.”

Another wrote: “My two are in Handsworth Grange. They’ve both said it’s gotten worse since being back.

“I just don’t get it, when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go, especially being female too.”

“Refusing toilets especially to the girls is ridiculous,” wrote another. “Apparently my daughter says they are locked then they cannot have a proper break or lunch as they are queuing for the toilet.”

Headteacher Nicholas Parker said: “Our students are able to use the toilets throughout the school day.

“Multiple toilet blocks are available before school, during social times and after school. We discourage the use of toilets during lessons due to the impact on lost learning but do allow our students access to them where necessary, and we are sensitive to and support the needs of our students, especially those with medical conditions.”

It comes in the same week Handsworth Grange was criticized by two Sheffield mums in the Daily Mirror for its uniform policy.

One girl was reportedly sent home on the first day for wearing the same skirt she wore all last year, while her cousin was sent home for wearing the same style of trainers as last term.

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