New primary schools in Glasgow will have unisex bathrooms for the first time, the city council has admitted.
The initiative, which is to be introduced in three schools currently under construction, has led to protests from parents concerned that the genderless bathrooms intrudes on their children’s privacy.
However, Glasgow City council claims that the policy will help combat bullying, anti-social behaviour, and provide a less intimidating experience for LGBT students.
It already been implemented as a cost-effective alternative in Hillhead Primary School, an oversubscribed school in the city, where six unisex toilets have replaced gendered bathrooms.
Defending the policy, David McEwan, estate programme manager for the authority’s education services, said: “Bullying is reduced, behaviour is improved, no graffiti, no soggy bombs on the ceilings.
“"It also assists in the LGBT agenda because if we have children even in primary school who are confused about their gender and worry, 'Do I go to the girl's toilet or the boy's toilet?' - well, it doesn't matter.
"It saves a lot of space. New schools cost £3,000 a square metre so we need to make sure we are getting absolute bang for our buck."
A spokesman added that individual toilets would also be created in case the policy proved problematic.
However, Malcolm Balfour, a local councillor, said parents in Blairdardie had already approached him with concerns.
"In Scandinavian countries they do this quite successfully but this is the first primary school in Glasgow.
"I can see that it teaches kids it doesn't matter what their gender is.A girl who feels trapped in a boy's body and a boy who feels trapped in a girl's body might feel embarrassed to be going into the 'wrong' toilets.
"But girls mature more quickly than boys and they start to develop towards the end of primary school and they need their privacy."
The disclosure comes less than three months after an east London primary school caused outrage among parents when it introduced a similar policy for children aged eight and over.
Concerned that unisex toilets could expose pupils to heightened risk of abuse and premature sexualisation, a petition was delivered to the Buxton School’s headteacher containing more than 700 signatures.