Tiny Co. Durham primary on a roll for Toilet Twinning

It doesn’t take long to call the register at Wearhead Primary – but its 18 pupils have proved that even a tiny school can make a big splash in fundraising for toilets

Pupils at the school, which caters for seven year groups, took less than a term to raise enough to fund seven toilets in Ebola-hit Sierra Leone, far exceeding their own target.

‘It just proves you don’t have to be big to achieve great things,’ says Deputy Head Liz Judges.

She introduced the school to the charity initiative, Toilet Twinning, last year. The campaign provides proper toilets, clean water and hygiene education in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Mrs Judges set the children the target of raising £180 to twin three loos – but in fact they raised £420, in less than 15 weeks.

Their focus on sanitation, international development and fundraising complemented curriculum work on finance, enterprise and PSHE. ‘And I particularly wanted the children to think hard about how they’d work together to achieve something,’ says Mrs Judges.

After watching a film about sanitation work in Nepal, the children set to, making handicrafts and collecting toys to sell. One pupil ran round the yard 48 times – for 50p.

The whole school also did a sponsored walk around the nearby Burnhope reservoir – in torrential rain and a bitter wind – and three pupils insisted on trekking back to school too.

The children made posters for their toilet doors urging one another not to waste water and reminding themselves that 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have proper toilets.

Mrs Judges says that the children are thrilled and proud that their school toilets now boast certificates showing their twins in Sierra Leone. ‘They’ve seen that their determination has paid off and that they’ve made a real difference in those communities,’ says Mrs Judges.

Toilet Twinning CEO Lorraine Kingsley says: ‘We never cease to be amazed at the lengths our toilet twinners will go to, to raise funds for toilets, and Wearhead’s children are particularly inspiring. Such a tiny group showed true grit to make a big splash and a big difference for poor communities overseas.’

Toilet Twinning is a partnership between international development charities CORD and Tearfund.