Pupils 'roam streets' after being sent home for wearing wrong clothes

Uniform anger: School pupils ‘roam the streets’ after being sent home for wearing wrong clothes as pupils are put in detention for having renegade shoes or are forced to wear blazers in the heat

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Schools across Britain are facing heavy criticism after some pupils were left ‘roaming the streets’ on the first day of the new term for not wearing the right school uniform.

At a Somerset school a shoe row erupted after a number of pupils were pulled out of lessons for wearing banned footwear, leaving parents ‘furious’.

A parent, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she believes the Huish Episcopi Academy in Langport is handing out ‘barbaric and inhumane’ punishments.

The parent also said ‘more than 50’ pupils were put into isolation and the school ‘crammed them into a hot, unventilated room’ for wearing black Nike Air Force 1 footwear.

They said that ‘one girl is having a panic attack and some are being threatened with suspension if they refuse isolation’.

Huish Episcopi Academy in Langport pictured, where parents are furious at the school for pulling children out of lessons for wearing banned footwear

The school says children are not allowed to wear Nike Air Force 1 footwear (pictured)

The school says children are not allowed to wear Nike Air Force 1 footwear, which it regards as trainers, and it informed parents of the rule three times in recent letters. 

The parent says pupils had been wearing the Nike footwear last year and ‘many cannot afford new shoes’, adding that the school is ‘refusing to engage’.

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A pupil at the school has also claimed that children were ‘kept in a room for hours with no air or water’ amid hot temperatures and ’30 were suspended’. 

A spokesman for United Learning, the group that manages the school, stated that some pupils had been suspended since the start of term, but ‘significantly fewer than 30’.

The spokesman said that the alleged number of 50 children in isolation ‘is inaccurate’. The spokesman added that ‘no student has been threatened with exclusion for wearing the wrong shoes’ and ‘no students are crammed into a hot, unventilated room’.

Huish Episcopi Academy was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted following an inspection in 2022, with a report highlighting ‘widespread bullying, unacceptable language and unruly behaviour’. 

The school is now looking to clean up its act, and one new initiative has seen it implement a ‘closer adherence to uniform policy’ with a letter stating ‘uniforms hold great importance as they symbolise pride in our institution and serve as a deterrent against bullying’.

The Telford Langley School (pictured) where at least 50 pupils were refused entry over improper school uniform

In Shropshire, parents said at least 50 students were refused entry to Telford Langley because of concerns over their attire.

Paul Hammond, whose daughter was meant to start Year Eight at the co-educational academy in Telford, said teachers were ‘measuring skirts and ties’ at the school gates.

He said: ‘I spent a lot of money on her uniform, so it wasn’t cheap and she went to school in a skirt that was down to her knees with black tights underneath.

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‘But they sent her home for ‘showing too much flesh’.’

He also described headteacher Emma Blount, who took over the running of the school this week, as ‘acting like someone from the Victorian age.’

‘It is incredible,’ he added. ‘There were at least 40-50 kids being sent home.

‘Some of the fathers were kicking off and swearing at the school gates as they were obviously very upset about it. It is mainly the girls that are being checked but a number of boys have been sent home too.’

Another parent, who did not want to be named, said her son was due to start Year Seven on Thursday but was sent home because of his shoes – despite him having worn them all last year.

‘It is an absolute joke,’ she said, adding that her son, among many others, was sent home by the school but was left ‘roaming the streets.’

‘They let my child go without our permission. The first I knew he had been sent home is when he phoned to say he was in the park. One parent does not know where her little girl is. They have just let them out to roam the streets.’

Nobody at Telford Langley School was available for comment when approached but on its website, the school says its uniform policy is guided by the belief ‘that the pride our students take in their appearance is a reflection of their attitude to their studies.’

Bodmin College pictured, where children were sent to a ‘reset room’ for not having ‘defined heels’ on their shoes

At a Cornwall school, some kids spent their first day of school in a ‘reset room’ for not having ‘defined heels’ on shoes.  

Parents have said they were not notified of the last minute change to the uniform policy.

Gavin Mitchell said his daughter was one of a number of kids at Bodmin College who spent the first day of their final year of school in a ‘reset room’ because they didn’t have appropriate shoes.

Mr Mitchell believes that as many as 35 Year 11 pupils were put in detention – all day – for the same reason and that many parents had not been contacted by the college to inform them of the issue. 

While the father-of-two said he understands the need for a uniform policy, he has been left ‘fuming’ at the college’s decision to take children out of lessons on the very first day back at school.

‘My daughter spent eight hours copying out of a book because she was told she didn’t have the right shoes,’ Mr Mitchell said. ‘She didn’t even get to find out her tutor group. To punish kids for the parent’s downfall is just wrong.

‘They were denied an education on their first day and they weren’t even given a warning. The workplace is strict, if you go in with the wrong shoes, you get a verbal warning but [the college is] torturing kids to make sure the parents buy the right shoes.’

Pictures of proper school shoes, as well as where parents can purchase them, were posted under the uniform policy on the college’s website, dated June 2023. 

Gavin Mitchell said his daughter was one of a number of kids at Bodmin College who spent the first day of their final year of school in a ‘reset room’

It explains that ‘shoes should be plain black, polishable or patent, and unbranded with no logos. Shoes that will no longer be acceptable from September 2023 include: hi-tops, canvas material, trainers, branded items with logos and any style of boot.’

However, there was no mention of shoes needing to have a ‘defined heel’, until Bodmin College shared a Facebook post last week – days before school started – further explaining what kind of shoes would be acceptable. 

Mr Mitchell said by this point, his wife had already bought new shoes for their daughter, which they thought would be appropriate.

‘They brought out this policy idea about the uniform at the beginning of the summer but it didn’t specify that shoes needed to have a defined heel to be appropriate,’ he said. ‘Then at the end of August, they came out with vague specifics on what shoes they want but they failed to notify parents.

‘Most parents found out through their own kids that they were in reset because the school didn’t tell them. Don’t get me wrong, I like strict rules, so I was even defending the school when my daughter complained about the new uniform policy over the summer.

‘But to find out my kid was punished because we failed to buy the right shoes is ridiculous. They were still adequate and presentable shoes without brand names, they just didn’t have a defined heel.’

CornwallLive was told by a representative of Bodmin College that it would provide a statement, however none has been provided.

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