Off the beaten track

1st March 1996 at 00:00
* About a week after I first becamea head, a little white van arrived on the car park. As I watched, a ladyin a smart overall got out and walked confidently into school.A little later, she walked out again and drove away. I did wonder vaguely who she was, but there were other things to worry about and although I glimpsed her in school several times, it was a full year before I realised that she worked for a firm which was contracted to service the sanitary bins in the ladies' and girls' toilets.

It struck me then that one of the problems which result from the fact that so many heads and governors are men is that the girls and women in a school may have to put up with less than adequate toilet and sanitary facilities. Girl pupils, particularly, can sometimes be distressed or embarrassed simply because nobody has really listened to them or thought through their needs. Women employees now have the protection of health and safety regulations, which say that they must have proper sanitary disposal facilities. Airstream products, mindful of the new legislation, has launched a new feminine hygiene container, the Cameo Bin, designed to fit neatly into a toilet cubicle, and to be serviced regularly bya trained person at a cost of about Pounds 1.60 per bin per week.Airstream Products, Airstream House, Brook Street, Cheadle, Cheshire SK8 2BN. Tel: 0161 428 7544. Stand A55

* Another kind of embarrassment is that suffered by the head whowalks a distinguished visitor across the playground towards the school, only to be confronted by a scatalogical slogan, based on his nickname, spray-painted on the back door.Everyone has an idea for dealing with graffiti. Whatever else you do, though, you do need to remove it quickly, because graffiti left on awall breeds overnight. This, though, is easier said than done: how do you remove felt pen marks from a brick wall or spray paint from a wooden door? Just about everything has been tried, including the use of aggressive cleaning agents that affect the wall. One promising approach is to safeguard the surface in advance with a coating that makes removal easier.The snag is that some of thesecoatings are difficult to apply and contain nasty chemicals.Now, though, Rocol has come up with a Graffiti Control System, a clear, water-based coating that can be safely applied, indoors or out, by the school caretaker. Two removal products come with the coating. Thus if you find graffiti ona treated surface, you first wash it with graffiti wash to removesurface dirt, then you use thegraffiti remover before a final wash to get rid of any residue. A 2.5-litre pack will treat about 30sq metres and costs Pounds 50. Remover and wash are in trigger spray bottles at Pounds 6.75 and Pounds 4.95 respectively. Rocol Site Safety Systems, Rocol House, Swillington, Leeds LS26 8BSTel: 0113 2322600. Stand H31

* As you walk around the building with your visitor (perhaps you should never have done this really) are you going to come across, perhaps in a flower bed near a doorway, a little pile of cigarette butts? They may have been left by visitors stubbing out before coming in, or by cleaners who nipped out for a smoke. Or ... but we will not think about that one.The Glasdon company believes that there is a need for a cigarette disposal point at the entrances to school buildings.They have two new products to deal with this. The Ashguard stands by the door, ready to receive discarded cigarettes. It is made of steel, vandal- and fire-proof, and securely bolted down, and looks much better than a pile of butts or a makeshift container. It is easy to empty and keep clean, and has a grille to stop it becoming a litter bin. The Ashmount does the same job, but is designed to be fixed to a wall. There is also a kit for fixing it to a glass panel. Glasdon UK, Preston New Road, Blackpool FY4 4UL Tel: 01253 694811. Stand B1

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