The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) is a government department that inspects schools and other educational institutions in England. Headteachers and senior management in any school understand the importance of Ofsted ratings. Achieving high ratings protects a school’s reputation and showcases the standards of education on offer while helps schools assess trends over time.
Ofsted inspections focus primarily on learning and education, as you’d expect, however inspectors review other key areas around the school too. Cleanliness and hygiene really matter, and well-maintained and hygienic school washrooms are part of this. In this blog, we’ll look closely at how to ensure your washroom doesn’t disappoint Ofsted inspectors and how they can contribute to your overall rating.
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What could make your school washroom fail an inspection?
Keeping school washrooms in a hygienic and clean condition is essential to meet pupils’ basic rights. Let’s look more closely at washroom issues that could impact your school’s Ofsted score:
Unsafe water temperatures
Pupils are at risk of scalding their hands if the taps in washrooms reach temperatures that are too high. This is a safety concern that inspectors may consider critical. The School Premises (England) 2012 Regulations include provisions to minimise risks relating to hot water. To avoid the risk of scalding, these regulations suggest limiting water temperature to a maximum of 43°C.
School toilets are vital for all pupils but so too is being able to find the facilities. Some schools have been criticised by Ofsted for not providing enough signage, so pupils know which washroom is for which gender. This confusion can be both embarrassing and a sign that the school lacks organisation and appropriate communication.
Inadequate provision of sanitary waste disposal facilities
Sanitary disposal bins are vital in all educational establishments where children need to use them. All menstruating children should have access to safe facilities to ensure waste can be disposed correctly and to avoid cross-contamination. With period poverty on the rise in the UK, schools should also consider the provision of free sanitary products for pupils. Providing a space that promotes period dignity would be viewed positively by the Ofsted inspection team and have an impact on final scoring.
Not providing adequate, accessible provision
Some schools fail to consider the quality of their washrooms facilities. Schools need to provide an adequate number of washrooms for their pupil population. These washrooms should be fitted with the correct number of toilets, basins and urinals, with the UK government advising that each school should be fitted with one toilet for every 20 pupils.
Schools must also provide a suitable accessible disabled toilet for pupils and staff with disabilities. Auditing your washroom provision may be the first step in ensuring you have suitable facilities for your pupils. Checking for issues in quality, maintenance and repair is also a good way to ensure that nothing negative will be picked up on in this area.
Lack of paper towels and soap
While it can be tricky to maintain levels of paper towels and soap in a busy school, it is vital to meet the standards expected by inspectors. An effective washroom cleaning and inspection regime will help to ensure your washroom never runs low on essentials. Using a reliable, washroom hygiene services company like Citron Hygiene will ensure this.
Where your washroom is fitted with hand dryers, these should be well-maintained and fully functioning at all times. This will encourage hand drying, as wet hands can spread germs faster than dry hands.
No dedicated facilities for staff and visitors
Schools should have dedicated washrooms for staff and visitors. Visitors should not be expected to use student facilities, nor should your staff. All washrooms, whether used by staff, visitors or pupils should deliver consistent, high standards.
Lack of respect for pupil privacy
Washrooms are inherently private spaces. Pupils should feel comfortable and safe in using any washroom in your school. Ofsted expects washrooms to have an informal level of staff supervision, but this should in no way impact pupils’ privacy and dignity while using the facilities.
On-time, hygiene services for educational facilities
Schools with outstanding Ofsted ratings attract more funding and gain a larger number of pupil applications. All schools aspire to achieve outstanding status but gaining this rating means ticking all the boxes, including those relating to cleanliness and hygiene in washrooms.
Citron Hygiene offers on-time, washroom services for schools and other educational establishments, ensuring your washroom will always deliver the standards Ofsted will expect. Partnering with Citron Hygiene will ensure your pupils benefit from a safe, hygienic and inclusive washroom environment.
We provide our customers with all the solutions necessary for a well-provisioned school washroom, including:
- Sanitary waste disposal
- Hand hygiene solutions
- Auntflow menstrual hygiene vending machines
- Hand drying solutions
- Air care solutions
Citron Hygiene focus on maintaining hygiene in your washrooms to enable you to focus on education and learning.
Get in touch with our team to discuss your washroom needs.