Scandal of Britain’s lazy parents: How children are starting school in nappies and some can’t even put on their coats
Last updated at 12:07 AM on 8th February 2012
Rising numbers of children are still in nappies when they start primary school.
Staff say they are increasingly forced to disrupt classes to change pupils or clear up ‘accidents’ because parents believe toilet training is a school’s job.
Teachers also report that children are generally less independent, needing help with putting on coats and changing for PE. Some claim parents are too busy to teach their children basic life skills.
‘Parents do not spend the time training their children – they feel it is the school’s job,’ said one teacher.
Almost two-thirds of 850 primary school staff polled said they had seen an increase over the past five years in the number of pupils wetting or soiling themselves.
The figure rose to 71 per cent among teachers working with three to five-year-olds, and some schools have been forced to put on parent workshops to help with toilet training.
The findings do not refer to youngsters with special needs or health problems.
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Just 36 per cent of staff surveyed said their schools required parents to ensure their children were toilet-trained by the time they started their education.
With fewer nurses working in schools, the job of clearing up after accidents or changing pupils increasingly falls to teaching assistants, and occasionally teachers.
One teacher said: ‘I currently have three incontinent children in my reception class. Sometimes an adult changes children up to nine times daily. This means the education of other children suffers.’
Another teacher said: ‘Nappies have been designed to absorb large quantities of liquid. Children do not feel wet or notice any discomfort and this seems to delay their urge to be free of nappies.’
Another added: ‘There is less independence generally – more children need help putting on coats, changing for PE, etc.’
The survey was carried out by Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.
ATL general secretary Dr Mary 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.’
█ More than a quarter of British children have problems at home that are damaging their behaviour and development, according to a study published today.
Researchers from London’s Institute of Education found 28 per cent of youngsters face hardships such as parents with chaotic lifestyles or financial woes.