Angry parents have slammed a Banstead school for sending home around 50 children for not conforming to the school dress code.
The students, from The Beacon School, in Picquets Way, were identified as they returned after half term on Monday, October 31.
Students, some of them studying for their GCSEs, were either sent home if parents were contactable, and told not to come back until they were wearing appropriate uniform, or kept in isolation and not allowed to attend classes.
A number were still off school on Wednesday and furious parents, many of whom have had to take days off work to look after their youngsters, insist they were not given any warning of the clampdown.
One parent, who has filed an official complaint with the school governors, said her 15-year-old son was sent home for wearing plain black canvas plimsolls rather than the 'black leather style school shoes' stipulated in the schools uniform policy.
She said: “As far as I’m concerned he’s not gone in with pink hair but a pair of black shoes.
“I explained to them that I thought it was appalling that children were being sent home purely on their footwear.
“It’s pathetic. What’s more important, our kids’ education or the material of their shoes?
“They are making it into such a big issue and yet it’s such a big year for these kids.
“At no time have they stated that they would be sending or turning children away.
“That’s what I think a lot of parents were shocked and angry.
“It’s not about making an exception but they have got to understand that times are really hard.
“It was very extreme to segregate the children that day. As far as I’m concerned they have over stepped the mark.”
The mixed-sex secondary school, whose motto is Achieving Together, has more than 1,000 pupils and is hoping to gain Academy status next month.
It is a specialist media arts college, which has improved in recent years after failing an OfSted inspection in 2007 and being put in special measures for poor leadership, which resulted in the resignation of the then head teacher John Darker.
The current headteacher, Lisa Croke, took over the school last September. Another parent said: “If I take my son out of school we are all threatened with being fined and being reported to the education authority and yet they can send our children home?
“If they turn up at school in trainers they are made to take them off and put on black plimsolls and that’s what he has been wearing.
“It has made me really angry because I spend the day at work trying to ring the school and they won’t return any of my calls.
“My husband has had to leave work and lose a day’s pay to get my son, on top of having to buy a new pair of shoes, so I am not happy.”
The school was repeatedly asked to explain its position but had still not responded.
The school's uniform policy says: "The school is very proud of the high standards of appearance created by our students wearing school uniform and the school expects all students to wear the following uniform.
"Students should avoid extremes of fashion in terms of the uniform or hairstyles."