New Welsh school will have mixed toilets to minimise bullying

A new Port Talbot school will have mixed toilets, which the local council says is designed to lessen the likelihood of bullying – but some parents aren’t happy

According to Wales Online, a new school in Port Talbot is set to have mixed-gender toilets in order to minimise opportunities for bullying.

The school – Ysgol Cwm Brombil – opens on Tuesday 6 November and caters to children aged three to 16. The toilets for primary pupils will be mixed, with boys’ cubicles on one side and girls’ on the other, plus a shared washing area.

The Neath Port Talbot Council has defended this set-up, stating that it is now standard in new schools to have mixed toilets and that they are designed to combat bullying.

However, some parents have criticised the layout, with one father writing on Facebook:

“My kids will be getting front door keys cut so they can use the house for toilet breaks. There are many problems with them [mixed toilets]. There are possible benefits but the problems outweigh them.

“Schools should be in the real world.”

A mother added that she thought older girls should be entitled to more privacy. “Boys can be cruel at times and don’t understand a lot about periods,” she said.

However, other parents have spoken in favour of the new toilets.

Another mother said: “I can’t see the problem – it is a great idea and it is working well in the other schools.

“Embrace it. It’s happening, is accepted and working.”

Councillor Peter Rees, Neath Port Talbot Council’s cabinet member for education, leisure and culture, said the mixed toilets are being operated successfully across other new schools.

He added: “Whilst this is also the layout at Ysgol Cwm Brombil, the school has chosen to designate facilities on one side of the building as all female and the other as all male, a more traditional set up and one which the flexibility of the design easily allows for.

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“All secondary phase parents have visited the new build over the last two weeks as part of the transition process for when the pupils move in after half term and no concerns were raised at that point regarding the toilet facilities that the school were aware of.”

He added that pupils within the primary phase would use separate toilet facilities to the older pupils in the secondary phase.

“Within the primary phase the toilets are ‘mixed’, as was the case in the former Groes Primary which Ysgol Cwm Brombil is replacing,” he continued.

“Groes was one of the first primary schools to introduce these some years ago and parents have been happy with arrangements.”

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