Mother-of-five Sarah Wickens, who has a 14-year-old daughter at Hailsham Community College (HCC) in Battle Road, said she is worried about girls who are on their period and are too embarrassed to tell their teacher as well as students not drinking enough water to avoid needing to use the toilets.
The Hailsham resident, who said her daughter was ‘distraught’ after not being able to use the toilet, explained that parents have been told the shutters are to prevent skiving and potential damage.
Mrs Wickens said the toilets are open during lunch and break so students are spending this time queuing for the facilities.
She added: “The queue for lunch is extremely long. Some students do not have time to sit in both queues [and] therefore go without lunch. Others have decided not to drink water so they won’t need to use the facilities. With this heatwave as a parent I’m concerned it will impact their health.”
Head of school Natalie Chamberlain said: “The shutter doors were introduced in response to student and parent feedback. The rationale for this is to improve safeguarding within the college, as we know that a minority of our students were treating the facilities inappropriately during lesson times when staff were not on duty to supervise the areas.
"In turn, this also means we can ensure our facilities are supervised by staff and remain in a clean and useable condition during student break and lunch times. In a recent survey, the majority of students reported seeing a positive difference with regards to the cleanliness of our facilities and they also indicated that there was less damage occurring to them.
“Students may be issued with a toilet pass from their head of year for any ongoing medical conditions or short-term need. These students are permitted to use the toilet, which is supervised by a member of staff in our student services area, at any point in the day.
"Whilst we want to ensure we minimise any lost learning time, teachers are able to use their discretion and provide any student with a one-off pass which enables the student to leave their lesson if required.”