Exmouth Community College defends stance on uniform after girl sent home for wearing ‘unsuitable’ skirt

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 September 2018

Exmouth Community College

Exmouth Community College

Archant

The headteacher at Exmouth Community College has defended the school’s policy on uniform after a parent claimed his daughter was sent home due to an ‘unsuitable’ skirt.

This prompted Exmouth dad David Preece to express his concerns about the school’s rules on uniform sparking a debate among parents on social media.

Mr Preece’s 14-year-old daughter was sent home in the first week of term with a letter saying the skirt she was wearing was not ‘suitable’. Since the incident, she has been going to school in trousers.

Headteacher Andrew Davis said the school will work with parents and carers to resolve any uniform issues, including in some cases offering to buy the correct uniform or signposting parents to possible alternative skirts.

Mr Preece said while he understands the school’s need for some regulation, he feels children should not be singled out.

He added: “It’s the same skirt that 80 percent of other girls have, who haven’t had a letter.

“As far as I am concerned, it’s smart, comfortable and fit for purpose.

“If you are going to single out children because they are different, you have to make it that you are only allowed this one specific skirt. If that’s all you’re allowed, then that’s okay.

“When you have a broad spectrum, you single out children and that can be humiliating.”

In a statement, headteacher Andrew Davies said: “Firstly, I would like to clearly state that the vast majority of students at the College wear their uniform to a high standard and are proud to do so. We very much appreciate this and the support of parents and carers who work hard to support the school on this issue. Where issues have arisen with the uniform, whatever they may be, if we are made aware of problems, we will always try and work with individual students, parents and carers to resolve the issue. Examples of the solutions we have put in place include, the College offering to purchase the correct uniform in some circumstances and signposting to other possible alternative skirts which we think will be more appropriate.

“We have endeavoured to keep uniform costs down for parents and carers, as is evident with the new grey skirts introduced for Year 7 students, where students have two different styles to choose from, one of which has very small slits in them to allow for more movement.

“While this approach to uniform may be seen as a somewhat traditional view, the foundations of our College are based around respect, trying hard, resilience, fairness, hard work, equality and integrity. We see issues such as behaviour, politeness and uniform as being integral to many of these important values. We have high expectations as to what our students can achieve both academically and as a wider person.

“As a school we have thought very carefully about our uniform guidance and have tried to balance the need for our uniform to be affordable with the need for a consistent overall appearance for all students. This guidance is clearly stated on our website and reminders were sent to parents and carers before the end of the Summer Term stating we would not accept tight, short or stretchy skirts and that skirts, along with other uniform, should be worn appropriately, including being the correct size.

“We believe that the wearing of uniform in an appropriate way is a very important element of a student’s education since we need to teach students to understand boundaries and rules in order to prepare them for working life as well as making sure that the uniform ensures all students, whatever their background, have a consistent appearance across the College.”

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