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Childminder hits out at 'undignified' toilet rules
A childminder of 37 years says she has been given advice on how to go to the toilet by Government inspectors.
Helen Mason from Woodingdean has been informed by Ofsted that she has to take children under the age of eight into a toilet cubicle with her when on outings.
The watchdog has warned her that children in her care could be abducted in the time it takes for her to spend a penny.
Mrs Mason from Roseberry Avenue, says the proposal is a complete invasion of her privacy and dignity and will give children the wrong idea of personal boundaries.
She said the inspection body also rejected her suggestion that she could get written permission from parents agreeing to allow children to stand outside while she went into the cubicle.
Mrs Mason said she has been contacted twice by Ofsted over complaints about not taking children into the cubicle and was strongly criticised in a recent inspection.
Under her licence, she can have up to six children under eight in her care and says she would struggle to even find a toilet big enough to fit all her children in.
She said: “It is a complete invasion of my privacy and dignity and children need to learn about not invading other people’s personal space.
“If it went the other way round and I insisted on going into the cubicle each time a child performed, I would be accused of child abuse and being a paedophile.
“Are they telling me I should try and squeeze six children into the toilet with me to gawp and giggle whenever I have the urge?
“I have spoken to parents about this and they are horrified, they said they don’t even take their own children into the toilet with them.”
A spokeswoman for the Department for Education, which sets the guidance which Ofsted inspectors monitor, said: “There is no regulation that specifies this. We expect childcare providers to use their professional judgement in these situations.”