A PRIMARY school has introduced single sex toilets to tackle transphobia.

Boys and girls have told their parents how they now share the same facilities at Harbour Primary School in Church Hill, Newhaven.

Children returned to school for the autumn term to find that the loos in a new building at the school were now “gender neutral”.

Following complaints from parents the school sent a letter home inviting them to a meeting about “preventing transphobia” at the school, which will include a discussion about the toilets.

The letter, from headteacher Christine Terrey, said: “We want all the children in our school to feel safe and be happy, and for our families to feel informed about how to effectively support transgender and gender questioning by their children, preventing any transphobia at the school.”

One concerned mother of a seven-year-old pupil said: “I know of several parents who have raised complaints and we had no response at all, but now they have invited us to a meeting about transgender equality.

“This was just introduced from the start of term and no one told us before.

“There are seven-year-old girls using the same toilets as 11-year-old boys.

“My daughter has said she doesn’t feel comfortable about it.

“Although we are all up for equality we feel this is not allowing our children to choose.

“A lot of our children don’t want to use toilets of the opposite sex.”

Mrs Terrey told The Argus that the decision to include single sex toilets in their new building had been taken by East Sussex County Council.

She added: “They are all cubicles and they all lock.

“We just want all our children to be able to use the toilets. We no longer have urinals because they were quite unpopular with the boys.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “As part of the rebuilding work that was carried out at Harbour Primary School during the summer, a decision was taken to install toilets which could be used by boys or girls, with lockable cubicles.

“Unisex toilet blocks are considered preferable in terms of hygiene, maintenance and pupil behaviour.

“We feel this kind of toilet block, which complies with all national guidelines, is an appropriate solution for children of primary school age.

“We are not aware of any cases of children being reluctant to use the new toilets. On the contrary, the feedback we have received from the vast majority of parents, children and staff has been overwhelmingly positive.

“As an authority we feel it’s important to provide a safe, welcoming environment in our schools for all pupils.”

Parents speak to The Argus

ONE dad, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “I am disappointed that we were not consulted.
“I understand the rationale for doing it but I am disappointed
with how the changes have happened.”

Two other parents, Marcus Clark, 36, and Greta Clark, 33, of Elphick Road in Newhaven, have two children who attend the school. They said not every block in the school has been converted unisex.
Mrs Clark said: “If it doesn’t bother the kids, it doesn’t bother us.
“For anyone below 11, it isn’t an issue.
Mr Clark added: “I think it’s more than reasonable for kids to share.
“It’s change isn’t it? Some people don’t like it but we are OK with it.”