Parents’ uproar over school uniform changes

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Schools in the district endured a controversial start to the new term as changes to uniform policies and suppliers caused disruption for hundreds of pupils and parents.

It was reported that large numbers of girls were refused access to Featherstone’s St Wilfrid’s Catholic School on their first day back last week for having the wrong trousers, or kept separated from their fellow pupils until they passed inspection.

Angry parents contacted the Express to say their children were being turned away at the gate by teachers.

One mother said: “There’s uproar and everybody is livid, there are arguments going off everywhere.

“I was there and I saw lots and lots of kids either walking home or waiting for a bus, and I don’t know how many are in isolation.

“There’s been parents who have had to come out of work to get their children.

“Some of the children are not even getting onto the premises, there’s teachers at the gate just saying ‘home’.”

Despite having sent an email to parents days before the start of the new term, apologising for delays in stock arriving at the school’s uniform shop, the school has defended its new policy.

A statement from the Cutsyke Road school read: “Changes to the school uniform, for September 2018, were agreed following a parental/school consultation in January and February, 2018.

“Full details of the uniform for September 2018, including details of where uniform can be purchased has been shared with parents every week in the school newsletter since March 2018 and students were informed regularly in school.

“St Wilfrid’s has a long and proud tradition of high standards and expectations, including those for uniform.

“We would like to thank the vast majority of students and their families for supporting school and wearing the correct uniform.”

Meanwhile, Pontefract Academies Trust say they will review their decision to switch to an online uniform supplier for Pontefract’s Carleton High School only after almost 800 people signed a petition against the plans.

Many complained about orders being wrong or late, with many worried parents not taking delivery of the necessary clothes until after their children had started back at school after the summer break.

Lisa Hulse, a mother-of-two whose daughter started in year 7 at the school, set up the petition at Change.org

Her daughter’s uniform order arrived on Friday, days after school had re-started.

Mrs Hulse said: “There was no reason for the changes, we just got told it was happening and that we’d have to get them online, and that they wouldn’t be dispatched until the last week of the holiday.

“I placed my order for my daughter on August 1 and it still had not arrived by the time she started, and lots of parents said the same.”

She says two local shops had, until this year, supplied uniforms for Carleton High and insists the school trust should be supporting traders.

“They must have lost a lot of money,” she added.

“We want the choice, we should be able to just nip into town to get what’s needed.

“It’s a nervous time anyway for a child to start school and we shouldn’t have to worry about things like this.”

Pontefract Academies Trust told the Express that two regular suppliers would continue to provide uniforms for the other schools under their guidance and Carleton High’s new policy would undergo a review next month. Julian Appleyard, CEO of Pontefract Academies Trust said: “The uniform changes are part of our continued commitment to raising the standards across all our schools.

“We are fully committed to supporting local traders with two currently authorised to supply all our primary school uniforms.

“We have assured our local suppliers that future arrangements for both primary and secondary school uniforms will include a mix of authorised local suppliers and online suppliers.”

Your say on Facebook:

Mel Higgins: “The majority of schools, if not all, have stringent but clear codes of dress which are there for specific reasons. If parents choose to ignore the simplest of policies, it will be to the detriment of their own child/children. If they are looking for someone to blame, they shouldn’t have to look too far.”

Brett Heath: “Wear uniform stay at school, don’t get sent home...it’s really not rocket science.”

Ann Hunter: “Wouldn’t it be better if school uniforms were more casual say jogging trousers, polo neck tee shirt and sweat shirt. The nurses in our hospitals are more relaxed in tunic and trousers than they were in starched hats and aprons.”

Nicola Green: “Another school that seemingly think uniform is more important than education. These schools need a reality check.”

Hannah Worthington: “If parents followed the correct uniform list then there wouldn’t be a problem. You wouldn’t turn up to work in the incorrect uniform so why do people think it’s okay to turn up to school in the incorrect uniform?”

Leoni Mcgowan: “School uniform was introduced to make all the children the same, as some children had more than other’s. But the uniform were always made affordable for everyone. These new uniform ideas are nothing but money-making scams for the schools.”

Caroline Cox: “Of course it’s not going to affect their education but having everyone in the same means teachers can get on and do what they’re there to do - teach and not police uniforms that do not meet the required standard.”

Helen Molloy: “Children are there to learn not be inspected on what they are wearing. The whole uniform debacle is way out of hand. The government need to step in and make some statutory guidelines around over the top logos and branded items.

It’s outrageous.”