April 29, 2014
Hundreds of children aged five and older are still wearing nappies in primary schools, a survey suggests.
It found around one in ten senior teachers said children at their school aged between five and seven were still not toilet trained.
There were even perfectly healthy pupils in their teens – without medical conditions or developmental problems – who were unable to go to the bathroom on their own, it was reported.
The worrying findings came in a Sky News survey of schools in England, which is the first to show the problem extends past the first year of school. Teachers also warned that growing numbers of young children were starting school without other basic skills, such as being able to hold a knife and fork properly or use a paintbrush.
The survey was carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research, which asked head teachers and staff in England about their experiences of children coming to schools still having to wear nappies.
Nine per cent – almost one in ten – of heads and senior staff said that in the past year a child aged between five and seven had worn a nappy to their school. If representative of schools across England, it would mean up to 1,600 of England’s 16,000 primary schools had at least one pupil aged over five still wearing nappies in the past year.
The survey found a lower figure, however, for classroom teachers, 5 per cent of whom said they had children still in nappies at that age. Four per cent – almost one in 20 – of heads and senior staff said that in the last year a child aged seven to 11 had worn a nappy to school.
One per cent of classroom teachers surveyed had experience of older children with the problem. There has been growing evidence in recent years that increasing numbers of children are starting school without being fully toilet trained.
Experts say it is not just pupils from deprived backgrounds who are having problems but those who have working parents too busy to address the issue.