School criticised for 'cage' doors to stop pupils using toilets in lessons

A concerned grandparent has slammed the new partitions at Foxford Community School in Coventry.

"Cages" are being used at a secondary school in Coventry. (Reach)
"Cages" are being used at a secondary school in Coventry. (Reach)

Controversial “metal barriers” have been installed inside a secondary school to stop students from using toilets outside of designated times.

A concerned grandparent has criticised the new partitions at Foxford Community School in Longford, Coventry, describing them as "cage doors" and saying that officials have gone too far.

However, the school has refuted this claim, stating the barriers are not "cages" and that they are unlocked outside of class hours. It has been alleged that students are only permitted to use the restrooms while under supervision during lessons.

Ian Ward, from Coventry, said his grandchildren had been left “upset” over the change and described the move as “totally wrong.” He said new rules had been enforced for every year group from Year 7 to Year 11 because teachers were having issues with students in the toilets.

Foxford Community School in Longford has described the new partitions as
Foxford Community School in Longford has described the new partitions as "metal barriers". (Reach)

The 54-year-old, who has six grandchildren who attend Foxford Community School, said: “Foxford has for a while kept the toilet doors locked preventing the kids from using the toilets and now they have fitted locked cage doors to prevent the kids from even getting near the toilets and have said the kids can only use the toilets during break times but not during lessons.”

He added: “Kids are only allowed to go to the toilet under supervision which is totally wrong. It is taking away the freedom of being able to use the toilet as and when you need it. What if a child is on their period or has problems holding for a long time? I understand they have problems with kids in toilets, but to put metal doors on them is just going too far.”

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Ward argued that school was meant to be a “safe place” and a "relaxed" environment for students, but the new barriers made it seem like they were locked up.

He continued: '“I think there are other ways of controlling that by having somebody sit by the toilets at certain times, and if there is a problem then someone is close by, there is no need to lock them and say you are not using them.”

A spokesman for Foxford Community School said: “We have recently installed metal doors to two toilet areas, these are not cages and the doors are unlocked before and after school, as well as at break and lunchtimes.”

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What is the government's guidance on school pupil behaviour?

The government has provided guidelines for student behaviour in schools, but each school must create and publish its own behaviour policy. This policy should be accessible on the school's website and outline what’s expected of pupils, what happens if they misbehave and what the school does to prevent bullying.

The policy also applies to misbehaviour that occurs outside of school, such as during travel to and from school. You can ask the school for a copy of its behaviour policy document.

The government says sanctions for breaking rules in schools can range from a verbal warning to a letter home, removal from a classroom and detention. School staff are authorised to use reasonable force to protect students and others from harm or to prevent damage or disruption. This may include physical restraint such as leading a student out of a classroom by the arm.

Schools may also discipline students for harmful or threatening online behaviour that impacts other students or the school environment. If you disagree with your child's punishment, you should first discuss the issue with the headteacher. If you remain unsatisfied, you can request a copy of the school's complaints procedure.

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