Furious parents have slammed an academy school after pupils were sent home for ‘showing an inch of ankle’ on the first day back after half term.
Consett Academy in County Durham told around 50 pupils to go home because they were not wearing the correct shoes, trousers and socks, including a 14-year-old girl who showed ‘an inch of ankle’.
Parents hit out at the school for enforcing strict rules at this point in the academic year, but teachers insisted parents were warned pupils should have the correct uniform before the February break.
Consett Academy in County Durham told around 50 pupils to go home because they were not wearing the correct shoes, trousers and socks, including a 14-year-old girl who showed ‘an inch of ankle’. Pictured yestereday: Shoes which breached the uniform policy
Year 10 pupil Jessica Willis, 14, was sent home after teachers said showing her ankle was a ‘distraction’. Her mother, Victoria Willis, branded the move ‘ridiculous’ and said it was sexist.
The 38-year-old said: ‘I think it is appalling they’ve sent my daughter home for showing an inch of ankle.
‘She wears her black blazer, shirt, black trouser, black shoes everyday – why is that not good enough.
‘I don’t see how showing your ankle can be a distraction or affect your education. Everyone just thinks it is ridiculous.’
Mrs Willis said teachers should also be made to wear a uniform. She said: ‘I think they should be made to wear the same uniform as pupils.
‘Even the boys wear tight trousers but they don’t get sent home – I think it is sexist and something needs to be done.’
The shop assistant added: ‘All the parents are really angry about it. They were sent home and no one bothered to tell the parents.’
She said any changes to the school uniform policy should be made after the summer.
‘Why do it now? Wait until the summer holidays and parents will have six weeks to buy a new uniform – not everyone can afford to buy a new uniform now,’ she said.
Tracey Brown, 50, said her daughter, Shannon Palmer-Brown, 15, was sent home for not wearing the correct trousers.
‘They were not considered to be academic trousers,’ she said. ‘It is just ridiculous as they are smart black trousers. It is the first day back after the half term and loads of children are getting sent home.
‘They are studying for their GCSEs and if they have a sick day are being told they must be in school, studying for their exams and now get sent home for this.’
Rachel Somerville, director of school, said: ‘As the vast majority of our parents appreciate, at Consett Academy (seen in a file photo) we believe in upholding high standards and have clear expectations for our uniform’
Vicky Parkin slammed the school for failing to contact her after sending her daughter, Elisha, 14, home for not wearing acceptable shoes.
The 31-year-old said: ‘She has worn the same footwear since September and it has never been an issue.
‘I’m still waiting for the school to contact me to say she is being sent home. What if there had been an accident? I would never have known.’
Angela Esson, 48, said she’s furious her daughter Abbey, 15, was told to leave because her trousers didn’t have a zip on.
‘Apparently now trousers have to have zips,’ she said. ‘I don’t understand why they are even thinking about something like that – I find it uncomfortable that they are even looking that closely for zips.’
The chef said she was also aware that children were told to leave without having anyway of getting home.
‘Abbey’s friend lives three miles away from the school and they never even asked how she was getting home,’ she said.
Andy Marriott, whose 16-year-old son was wearing black trainer-style shoes, said: ‘My son called and asked me to pick him up because he was freezing cold.
‘He has worn the same shoes for over a year. Lots of kids have been hanging around Consett in the freezing cold because they are locked out of home.
‘Lots of parents are going crazy about what has happened.’
Andrea Shannon posted on Facebook: ‘So my daughter is sent home from Consett Academy for “showing too much ankle” – an insidious little phrase that I take great exception to – are you saying that your students can’t cope with the sight of the joint between the leg and foot?
‘That’s bad enough, but on top of this a friend’s SON is allowed to remain in school wearing converse. I don’t even know where to start with this prime example of double standards.
‘In light of all of the attention surrounding women’s rights in the media at the moment, it’s great to know that the people responsible for educating my female child are setting an amazing example. Bravo Consett Academy, Bravo.’
She later added: ‘In the interest of fairness it’s only right to provide an update on “Anklegate”: it wasn’t specifically the ankle but the bare foot with a slip on shoe that was deemed to be a safety issue. What’s the solution?
Another parent, Andrew Kirby, said: ‘It is negligent sending children home in poor weather conditions without a key and their parents at work.
‘If anything happened to the children it would be entirely the school’s fault. ‘If they have an issue with their uniform isolate them instead.’
The school website states pupils must wear a grey ‘business jacket’ with embroidered academy logo, a blue and grey striped tie, black loose fitting, formal trousers or skirt, formal black shoes, not trainer-style shoes, boots, ‘Converse’, ‘Vans’ or plimsolls.
Academy black jumpers with a blue strip are optional but ‘no alternative is acceptable’.
Rachel Somerville, director of school, said: ‘As the vast majority of our parents appreciate, at Consett Academy we believe in upholding high standards and have clear expectations for our uniform.
‘We have a uniform policy which is communicated with parents via our website and students are frequently reminded of the policy during the school day.
‘I hasten to add that most of our students arrive at school correctly dressed and are a credit to the academy and themselves.
‘However, we have increasingly noticed that a number of students are choosing not to wear the correct trousers, black shoes and appropriate socks and tights.
‘This not only breaches our policy but isn’t fair to the 95 per cent plus of students who come to school correctly dressed.’
Prior to the February half term holiday, a letter and text message was sent to all parents informing them that the school would be expecting students to have the correct uniform following the break.
The information was also published on the school website and included in a newsletter to parents.
Mrs Somerville added: ‘This morning a small number of students did not meet our expectations regarding these standards of uniform.
‘We are now working with parents and students to rectify the situation.
‘It is heartening to receive, this morning, several positive comments from parents applauding our stance on uniform.’