Date 29 January 2018
Dear J Stewart Freedom of Information request - School Sanitary Facilities
I write with reference to your request for a review dated 27 December. Your request has
been dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
In your request for a review you stated that were not looking for information on accessible
toilets, but for information on mixed sex WCs or mixed sex wash areas or both and where
these were not allocated as a 50/50 split.
In answering your request, I think it is helpful to explain the following in terms of general
context. The number of toilets required in a school is set out in the Scottish Government
School Premises Regulations which can be found on the Scottish Government website: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1967/1199/pdfs/uksi_19671199_en.pdf.
use the capacity of the school to calculate the number of appliances required. There has
been recent consultation on updating these regulations and more information can be
found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/updating-school-premises-general-
All new schools
are now designed with gender neutral toilet facilities i.e. single WC cubicles with solid
lockable doors and communal hand washing facilities. Urinals are not designed/installed
in any new school builds. Within the City of Edinburgh Council area there are three new
secondary schools and approximately 20 primary school extension buildings that have
toilet facilities with this design.
How schools decide to utilise/allocate their facilities is a local management/head teacher
decision. Schools that have been designed with gender neutral facilities have allocated
some as explicitly male or female and have left others as gender neutral. Even older
school buildings can choose to allocate WC facilities to best meet the needs of the
school. Each school will make an assessment of needs around the pupils and decide
how to allocate these facilities.
In terms of answering your request, I am afraid that there is no central record of how
these facilities have been allocated within each school. Consequently, the only way to
retrieve this information is to request the data from each individual school. As there are
currently 121 schools in the local authority area that would fall within the remit of your
request, this task would exceed the cost limits set out under the Fees Regulations for FOI
Informatio n Governance , Strategy & Communications Division
Level 2.1 Waverley Co urt, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh EH8 8BG
Tel 0131 529 3459 E-ma il email@example.com v.uk
requests. As such, I must advise that I uphold the original decision to apply section 12(1)
of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002: excessive cost of compliance. This is
based on the calculation provided in the original response.
In order to be of some assistance, and provide you with some indication as to how many
schools are operating mixed sex facilities, we asked each school to confirm whether they
had any mixed facilities, outside of any accessible or disabled toilets. Not all schools
have been able to respond with the time scales, but of those who did respond, I can
confirm the following:
16 primary schools said they had some mixed facilities. Some schools also said that
whilst they may not have had mixed facilities within the primary school, there were some
within the school nursery. Five secondary schools said they had some mixed facilities as
well as five special schools. We considered asking these 26 schools to provide
information on your questions, however this exercise would still exceed the cost limits set
out under the Fees Regulations, as it would equate to 52 hours work.
I hope this is helpful in explaining the Council’s position. I appreciate that our response
might be frustrating, so if you would like to discuss how you request might be narrowed in
order to receive some information, will be happy to look at this for you. It may be, for
example, if you were to limit your request to a smaller number of schools, information
could be provided within cost.
If you are unhappy with this review outcome or the way we handled your request and
review, you have a right of appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner. You must
submit your complaint to the Commissioner within 6 months of receiving this review
response. The Commissioner can be contacted at:
The Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner
Telephone: 01334 464610
Fax: 01334 464611
Please note that, once the Commissioner provides you with a decision on any application
made to him, you have the right to lodge an appeal against the decision on a point of law
to the Court of Session.
Yours sincerely, gtrybalska
Information Governance Unit