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Primary pupils 'not toilet trained'

Rising numbers of children are starting school without being toilet trained, a survey of teachers has suggested.

Almost two-thirds of primary school staff say they have seen an increase in youngsters having accidents during the school day over the past five years, the poll found.

This figure rose to 71% among teachers working with three to five-year-olds.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) which conducted the poll, said the increase in pupils without toilet training is putting extra pressure on school staff.

ATL's survey of 848 primary school staff in the UK, carried out in partnership with Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence (ERIC), found that 62% say they have seen a rise in the numbers of youngsters wetting or soiling themselves during the school day.

Those questioned suggested that the main reason for the rise was parents failing to toilet train their children before they start school.

ATL and ERIC also said that disability laws such as the SEN Disability Act in 2011 and the Equalities Act 2010 could have led some schools to believe that they cannot refuse to take children who are not toilet trained.

One foundation stage teacher, a senior manager, said: "Parents do not spend the time training their children - they feel it is the school's job. Changes in legislation meant that we could no longer say to parents that their child could not start nursery if they were still in nappies."

Just a third of the teachers surveyed (36.2%) said that their school provides written information to parents about ensuring their child starts school toilet trained, with the rest saying none was provided, or they did not know if it was. A similar proportion (35.6%) said that their school has a written policy for dealing with toileting accidents during the school day.

Dr Bousted said: "Having to deal with increased numbers of pupils who have not yet been toilet trained puts extra pressure on education staff when they already have enough pressure on them."

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