A mum has kept her daughters off school for two days to save them being detained in “isolation” because their footwear breaks uniform rules at Peele Community College.
Michelle Blaxill (41) says her elder daughter Lauren (15) has worn the same style of plain black trainers for three years but rules at the Long Sutton school haven’t been enforced until now – and Lauren leaves in two months.
On Monday Lauren and younger sister Jessica (12), who has similar footwear, were among 54 pupils kept in isolation, away from normal lessons.
Acting head Elizabeth Smith says the school is raising standards of pupils’ dress by enforcing existing rules and, after Easter, it will issue more than 500 pupils with free, smart new school blazers and ties.
She says many parents are supporting the college’s drive to raise standards of dress and thanked them for doing so.
Mrs Blaxill said her daughters were deprived of their usual lessons on Monday and she kept them home on Tuesday and yesterday (Wednesday) on condition that they study their normal subjects.
Lauren wears plain black trainers, which is not part of the uniform, but here’s my thing – it’s never been a problem for the last three years.”Mum Michelle Blaxill
The mum accepts the uniform code says pupils must wear black leather shoes, but believes if the school wanted to enforce that rule it should have been made clear last September – when most parents kit out their children – and not in December when the first letter was sent out to parents.
She said: “Lauren wears plain black trainers, which is not part of the uniform, but here’s my thing – it’s never been a problem for the last three years.”
The mum claims her daughters “didn’t have an education” while in isolation.
She says Lauren, who has GCSE exams coming up this year, was given a book and told to pick something out of it to study while Jessica was given a passage to copy that she had already copied before.
Mrs Blaxill claims she left three messages for Miss Smith on her answer phone, but is still waiting to hear from the head.
She said: “If no one is going to speak to me, I am not happy to send my girls to school to sit in isolation all day.”
The mum estimates it will cost about £45 each to kit out her girls with black leather shoes.
Mrs Blaxill has now raised the issue with South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes.
Miss Smith told the Spalding Guardian she is willing to talk to the Blaxills about uniform issues, and has already spoken to parents, but no messages from Mrs Blaxill had come directly to her.
She said: “I will investigate that. There have been no messages on my personal voicemail.”
Miss Smith said she had met several parents this week, resolving issues to do with shoes, including one where cost was a problem.
She said there were 54 pupils in isolation on Monday, but that fell to around 30 on Tuesday and to ten yesterday.
Miss Smith said: “The numbers will be significantly less on Monday.”
She told us: “Since taking up the position of acting head teacher, my drive and determination has been entirely about raising standards at the Peele Community College.
“The Ofsted report commented that standards are rising, but improvements are still needed and this also includes standards of school uniform – all of which is interwoven with the raising of aspiration and instilling a sense of ambition within our students.
“I wrote to all parents and carers in December 2015 to remind them of the high standards I expect of our students in regard to our current school uniform.
“This was followed by a subsequent letter in January where I made it clear that far from being a new policy, this has been in existence since the commitment was made for their child/children to join the college. I was seeking their support in what we as a college are trying to achieve. I am glad to report that the vast majority of parents support this ambition.”