School campaign wins bog-standard loos fight

PARENTS fighting for the refurbishment of "appalling and intimidating" toilets in a city primary school have finally won their battle – after almost a decade.

Education leaders agreed to gut the crumbling toilet block at Tollcross Primary after parents presented them with photos showing burst pipes, live wires, broken toilets and cracked sinks.

They also agreed that the state of the Tollcross toilets had highlighted the need to carry out a review of the condition of toilets across the city's schools.

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Parent Norma Devlin spoke passionately about the state – and smell – of the boys' toilets during a deputation made to education committee members yesterday.

Ms Devlin, whose daughter is in P7 at the school, described the campaign to replace the toilets as "unfinished business" after an eight-year campaign. She told councillors: "I wouldn't use these toilets and we are expecting young people to use them on a daily basis. They are appalling, disgusting and intimidating.

"I don't think it's unreasonable that these toilets are brought up to standard. It is a health and safety issue, it's not just some toilets that need to be painted."

Fellow parent Julie-Ann Sime said the renewed campaign for the refurbishment followed a session last month where parents raised the state of the toilets in a questionnaire. She said: "One of the girls complained about the smell from the toilets because she could smell it in the dining hall.

"We have four and five-year-olds at the school who refuse to go to the toilet because they're scared to go in there.

"There's water running across the floor from a broken pipe, broken toilets and broken sinks.

"We have been told repeatedly that it's on the priority list and we have been trying to get something done for years, but it never gets done."

Short-term measures – such as securing loose wiring – may have to be carried out ahead of the planned refurbishment, expected to be done in the summer.

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Education director Gillian Tee confirmed that 13,000 had been set aside to refurbish the boys' toilet block after the issue was brought to her attention.

She added: "An officer went out to have a look at the toilets and was able to confirm there were health and safety issues.

"We need to take this as an example and check our systems across the board."

Councillor Marilyne MacLaren, the city's education leader, said she was not aware of the issue at Tollcross until local Tory councillor Gordon Buchan brought it to her attention.

Councillor Buchan said: "I'm delighted that the funding is now in place and that my motion has helped spur the council into action on this."