Furious parents have accused a school of ‘pure snobbery’ after it suggeted students’ success was linked to their footwear.
Officials at Crispin School, in Street, Somerset, posted the claim on its Facebook page on Thursday evening.
But parents and former alumni have argued that it discriminates against poorer pupils who cannot afford ‘the smartest shoes’.
The academy’s post, which has not been removed, made reference to Street’s historical connection to the Clarkes shoe brand and includes four photos of ‘exemplary’ footwear worn by pupils.
One of the photos of students’ ‘exemplary’ footwear provided by Crispin School alongside its Facebook post
The controversial post Crispin School posted online in which the academy emphasised the ‘link between success and footwear’
It read: ‘It has become apparent that those students with the strongest academic progress, those achieving in areas such as sport, music and the arts and those who have helped out and conducted themselves well around school are sharply dressed.
‘With a nod to Street’s history, we have particularly chosen to emphasise the link between success and footwear. Those students achieving are wearing the correct footwear.
‘Admittedly, some students would have reached for the polish had they known their feet would be under the spotlight but the correlation between success, doing the right things and being helpful students is a strong one.’
The suggestion was instantly met with outrage online with one person branding it ‘a pile of rubbish’.
And in an impassioned outburst, one former Crispin student, who didn’t give her name, wrote: ‘I’m incredibly insulted by this. I come from a relatively less well off family. I could not afford the smartest shoes, or the best shoes, or any other smart piece of uniform.
‘My tie was never perfect, I always wore dolly shoes from Primark, and I barely had my shirt tucked in. But I made great friends and despite how bad I may have looked, I received 12 GCSES and went on to Strode College where I received 4 As Levels and a BTEC.
The Crispin School building in Street, Somerset. Parents have called on the academy to apologise for the post
‘I am now a university student and I’m a student that will graduate with honours. So, Crispin, you can take your shiny £40 Clarkes shoes and shove it.’
One mother, who said her daughter’s shoes were pictured as a good example, wrote: ‘By all means focus on academic achievement, cultural strengths, community spirit etc.
‘But to do so via the choice of footwear – a choice of their parents, surely, and one which actually reflects disposable income more than hard work – trivialises what these young people have done.’
Addressing the school’s headteacher, Paul Reddick, one person wrote: ‘Do you think the families of those struggling to make ends meet and get food on the table need to have it endorsed that their children are at a disadvantage?
‘Do you think the parents who are perhaps struggling with long-term illnesses, who may not be able to get to the shops so easily need to be told that they’re failing their children? Your job is to nurture and support these children not bloody isolate them!’
Some commenters demanded the school apologise and take its post down.
MailOnline has contacted Crispin School for comment.