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eric logo"First the Tories gave us 'Margaret Thatcher the Milk Snatcher'; now school children are victim of Michael Gove the toilet snatcher", says children's charity ERIC's Bog Standard campaign.

The charity lobbied Parliament on Tuesday 28th February with an eye catching stunt featuring a mum of three dressed as Michael Gove dragging a toilet from College Green to the Department of Education to illustrate inadequate regulations for school toilets. A petition, in the form of a giant toilet roll, signed by over 1,000 angry teachers, parents and children was also presented to MPs at the Houses of Parliament.

Disputing the government's 'Red Tape Challenge' and Michael Gove's decision to axe the requirement for a minimum number of one toilet per every 20 pupils, ERIC took the Bog Standard campaign to Westminster because without a steer from the top, the government will pass amendments into law to totally deregulate school toilets in spring.

"It's shocking that there are no minimum standards for pupils' toilet facilities and no regulations to force state schools even to provide soap or toilet paper. Now the government wants to cut the one regulation there is – a minimum number of toilets per number of pupils." says Jenny Perez, Director of ERIC (Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence).

"Bizarrely, teachers' toilet facilities are protected in law, but there are no minimum standards – no bog standard – for pupils' toilets. Now the Department for Education wants to axe the one piece of legislation that does exist – the minimum number of one toilet per every 20 pupils.

"Ministers should be warned: health, continence and bullying issues could soar through embarrassing accidents at school and bad hygiene due to lack of facilities. Local health and education officials need to take note too.

"School toilets affect children's physical and psychological health. Toilets which are unpleasant, or out of bounds, can cause serious, long-term health problems. Getting the School Premises Regulations right will improve health outcomes for all children, including those with continence issues.”

Recent research from ERIC and Netmums found that a quarter of pupils in England's schools avoid using toilets. School toilets have a big impact on health and wellbeing but many schools are failing their pupils with poorly maintained, dirty and smelly toilets.

ERIC/ICCS/BAPU Conference 2012 – registration now open www.iccs-eric-bapu.org.uk 12–14 October 2012, London