Water, water, not a drop to drink;School management

30th January 1998 at 00:00
I have taught in a few secondary schools in the past 10 years and there has always been a lack of fresh drinking water for pupils. Only the school kitchen has access to the rising main, while the rest of the school uses storage tanks situated at the top of the building.

In warm weather the water is tepid. In cold weather it is no better, because of the central heating. The only access to drinking water is usually in the toilets, which are often smelly, dirty and vandalised, or at the classroom sink, which is rarely in use so the water is stagnant.

The only alternative is one of the popular brands of soft drinks at 45p a can. It may sound old-fashioned, but I believe children's appetites should be protected and nurtured, avoiding the excess of sweet things that spoils appetites and leads to hyperactive behaviour.

One solution would be to make chilled water available at drinking fonts in canteens. There is no justification, especially in Scotland, for bottled water. When I wrote to the Education Minister about this issue, the Scottish Office sent me a tepid response.

John Burleigh is a teacher in Inverclyde

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