A secondary school is under fire from parents over plans for new "gender neutral" toilets.

Driffield School and Sixth Form teachers are planning to spend £500,000 on refurbishing their toilets in the summer, but the idea of toilets accessible to both male and female students has caused concern among some.

One mum, who does not want to be named, says she has heard the new facilities "will all eventually become unisex" - something strongly denied by the school's executive principal.

The suggestion has struck fear into the parent who says her daughter is concerned about her "safety and privacy" during periods.

Scott Ratheram during his time as head of Cottingham High School
Scott Ratheram during his time as head of Cottingham High School

Head teacher Scott Ratheram said staff have consulted with students over their decision and have concluded that separate blocks designated to boys and girls will still be in place - although gender neutral toilets were also earmarked as something some students would like.

Explaining concern at the proposals, the mum of one Driffield pupil said: "I'm told that starting from September the toilets on site will all eventually become unisex. Apparently this is to cater for any pupils who come out as 'transgender'.

"My daughter is worried about her safety and privacy particularly when it comes to her 'time of the month'."

The decision to upgrade the toilets in the first place is as a result of "regular consultation" between students, parents and staff who have pushed for the upgrade.

What the school says

Explaining the decision, Mr Ratheram said: “Through our regular consultation, students and parents have told us they would like us to improve students’ toilet facilities.

"We are delighted to be in a position to invest around half a million pounds into refurbishing the toilets in the summer of 2020.

"Although we are still in the very early stages of working with our architect, it is clear from the feedback that our students would welcome a far more grown up and modern design which are in place in a number of newer schools within the East Riding.

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"The investment will also see an increase in the number of toilets overall, meeting the needs of all our students, including our provision for disabled users.

"Students are clear they would like the choice of both designated blocks for boys and girls toilets as well as some gender neutral toilets if they prefer.

"Once we have had plans drawn up we will be consulting with the student body again. It is through listening to parents and students that we will be able to offer clean, safe and modern toilets that meet the needs of all our young people.”

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