HC Deb 20 January 1987 vol 108 cc727-8
6. Mr. Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his policy on the provision of toilet facilities in schools.

Mr. Dunn

The requirements for the provision of toilet facilities in maintained schools are set out in the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1981. They prescribe the minimum number of toilet fittings according to the number of registered pupils. Separate toilet facilities are required for male and female staff. The duty of securing compliance with these regulations rests with the local education authorities.

Mr. Janner

Is the Minister aware that toilet facilities in many schools throughout the country are disgusting, inadequate and intolerable? Does he know that local education authorities, including that in Leicestershire, simply do not have the necessary funds to put this matter right? As a result, many schools in my constituency have toilet facilities which would not be tolerated if they were in other parts of the country. What steps does the Minister propose to take to provide the resources to remedy this inadequacy?

Mr. Dunn

I am indebted to the hon. and learned Gentleman for his interest in school lavatories. I should like to point out that the total net provision in our current capital spending plans for education is some 18 per cent. higher than it was in the plans for 1986–87. This reflects the increased spending power from capital receipts by which authorities may supplement their allocations. How local authorities choose to spend their capital resources is, as ever, a matter for them to decide.

Mr. Maclean

Does my hon. Friend agree that the lack of so-called adequate toilet facilities in some small rural schools is not of itself a good reason for accepting the closure of those schools, particularly when such schools have good academic standards and are otherwise catering very well for all the children, as they did for preceding generations?

Mr. Dunn

I have never recommended a school for closure because of a lack of toilet facilities, and I shall never do so.