Teachers waste more than a million hours of lesson time a year toilet training primary pupils, research reveals.
A survey found a fifth of staff spend up to 30 minutes a week dealing with basic hygiene issues that haven’t been taught at home.
The lost teaching time over the course of an academic year costs the education system £11million based on teachers’ average salaries, said researchers.
Research reveal 60 per cent of primary school teachers rate pupils’ toilet hygiene as poor
The figures suggest many children are not being properly educated how to use the toilet at home by their parents.
It comes after the Centre for Social Justice found staff in some schools routinely carry disposable gloves to deal with pupils who have not been potty trained.
The latest study is published by health and hygiene firm Essity and based on interviews carried out by YouGov with more than 400 primary school teachers and 500 parents and children.
The research revealed 60 per cent of teachers rated pupils’ toilet hygiene as poor.
The figures also suggested lax hygiene may be causing facilities to become dirty.
Some 44 per cent of children avoid using the toilet at school at some point every week, while 11 per cent do so every day.
One in ten primary school teachers said they have seen children not eating or drinking in a bid to avoid using the loos.
Children who shun the toilet risk getting bladder infections and bowel and continence problems in later life, the report’s authors said.
A fifth of those questioned said no checks were made on school toilets during the day.
A further 59 per cent of teachers believe improving toilet hygiene would reduce illness among children, teachers and other staff.
Teachers waste more than a million hours of lesson time a year toilet training primary pupils
Kevin Starr, of Essity UK, said: ‘There’s clear evidence to suggest that, by not paying enough attention to hygiene levels in primary school toilets and the hygiene behaviours of the children who use them, we risk undermining all the fantastic work that is going on elsewhere in our schools and in education in general.’
The firm is now holding a six-month school hygiene pilot scheme to highlight the problem in a bid to reduce absenteeism and boost ‘health, well-being, self-esteem and confidence’.
Sharon White, of the School and Public Health Nurses Association, said: ‘Children and young people need to be healthy to be able to learn and grow; depriving them of basic needs such as toilet facilities should not be a big ask and a public health approach is urgently required to address these unacceptable shortfalls.’
In this advert from 2017, a mother explains how she and her husband, who live in Surrey, have struggled to train their toddler to use the toilet due to their ‘busy careers’
Last year an unnamed 36-year-old Surrey mother advertised for a £50-an-hour professional potty trainer to get her three-year-old daughter out of nappies.
She said she and her partner work full time in demanding jobs and ‘simply do not have the time to do so’.
Parents can also hire professionals to remove lice from children’s hair, with one North London firm offering home visits from £32.
Other experts available for hire include childminders with training in nutrition to encourage children to eat vegetables.