Schools urged to clean up

14th September 2007 at 01:00
SUPPLYING SOAP, hot water, and toilet paper "is easier said than done" in schools, a union representative claimed this week,

Chris Howard, from the National Association of Head Teachers Cymru, was responding to a report from health officials calling for the Assembly government to set minimum hygiene standards in schools.

The recommendations follow the biggest E.coli outbreak in Wales in 2005, which claimed the life of five-year-old Mason Jones from Deri, near Bargoed. He died after the 0157 E.coli strain infected 157 children in 44 schools across the South Wales valleys.

But it was not until this week, after the jailing of 55-year-old butcher William Tudor for supplying the contaminated meat, that the National Public Health Service's Outbreak Control Team released its findings into the sanitary conditions of schools, some of which were grim.

"I agree there should be a review," said Mr Howard. "However, it would be hard to provide running hot water in all situations and everybody who has ever been to school will know the problems of monitoring toilet paper."

In an 83-page document, the OCT says some schools don't have running hot water, toilet rolls, hand-drying facilities or soap. But most pupils were encouraged to wash their hands after eating and going to the toilet.

Officials are also urging the Assembly government to undertake a review of where school food is sourced. Chris Lines, head of communication for the NPHS in Wales, said required standards were more difficult to enforce in older schools.

The report will now go to Professor Hugh Pennington who will open a pubic inquiry into the outbreak next month.

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