Parents rally to defend a Banstead school's uniform policy

Your Local Guardian: Parents rally to defend school uniform policy Parents rally to defend school uniform policy

Parents have defended a school's decision to send home about 50 students for wearing the wrong uniform.

The Beacon School in Piquets Way, Banstead, sent students home on Monday, October 31, telling them they would not be allowed to return until they were wearing the regulation clothes including ‘back leather-style shoes’.

Some parents of children caught by the clampdown slammed the school’s decision claiming they were not warned and that it was unfair to send children home based solely on their footwear.

But others have rallied to defend the school’s decision insisting that they were warned on numerous occasions.

One parent whose son was one of those sent home, said: “The school sent out letters, newsletters and text messages, as well as talking to the students in assembly warning them if the students were wearing incorrect uniform after half term they would be sent home.”

Another parent congratulated the school on their efforts to improve school uniform believing it to be a necessary measure. Others believe the school’s approach was a step too far.

One reader said: “I think it is awful to think that children lost out on important education due to the material of their shoes, not the style.

“It isn't a case of disobeying the rules.

“It's a case of the school being particular in the material of the shoes, hardly a good enough reason to send children home.”

All students who were sent home have since returned wearing the correct school uniform.

The school responded today to repeated requests to explain its policy.

In a letter to the paper, Lisa Croke, head teacher at the school, said: "I appreciate the opportunity to respond to the article published regarding our uniform policy.

"I hope the following information is useful and puts it into context.

"I started as Headteacher at The Beacon School in September 2010, having been a Deputy Head at the outstanding Coombe Federation of schools in Kingston.

"The Beacon School has gone from strength to strength over the last four years and provides an excellent 11-18 education for children in the local community.

"We work closely with local primary schools through our North Downs Partnership with many exciting projects running - designing an Olympic torch project with primaries - the winning design will be made in our technology department and run from school to school, finishing with an Olympic style sports event for local primary children and children at The Beacon. Our teachers work in local primaries giving support with media projects, language provision and through our outstanding choir who won the Surrey Glee competition this year.

"Our first preference choices of parents transferring from primary has grown year on year and is at the highest ever this year showing the overwhelming confidence of local parents in the school.

"Since I have started I have received so many letters of support for what the school is achieving.

"Last year as a result of the strategies I introduced (based on my knowledge of outstanding practice) and the hard work and dedication of the staff and students at the school, I raised the 5A*- C pass rate at GCSE by 21% to 85%, securing excellent opportunities for the next stage of education for our students.

"Most importantly levels of progress in English are in the top 10% of all schools nationally. These results are set to rise again this year.

"We have refurbished our sixth form facilities to have excellent study facilities, have a growing and thriving sixth form with a range of courses including Further Maths and Critical Thinking which enable our students to access top universities.

"We also have students on the Oxbridge programme. Our top performing student achieved 7A*s and 5 A's.

"My mission is to provide an excellent all round education for The Beacon students, high academic achievement and the development of happy, successful, responsible citizens.

"There is a strong focus on the children' s social, spiritual and moral development.

"We have a great deal of charity work going on in the school, for example the Christmas shoe box appeal which encourages our children to think of others and be proactive citizens.

"Our students are also encouraged to take leadership opportunities.

"The school is a community where we value respect and students are encouraged to take responsibility.

"Parents at open evening commented on the fact that the school clearly puts a lot of care into it's environment, the smart appearance of our students and their enthusiasm and love of their school.

"Our behaviour for learning policy which includes our uniform policy supports this ethos.

"When I started the school last year it was one of the areas I revised in conjunction with a staff working party and the students.

"It sets our clear and consistent expectations regarding behaviour and uniform.

"This has created an excellent climate for learning in the school.

"The students, staff and parents have overwhelming welcomed this clear and fair policy.

"The parents were informed of the change to the uniform policy - to leather style school shoes, at the end of the summer term, giving parents the summer holiday and first half of the autumn term to purchase new school shoes if necessary.

"The students were informed via an assembly at the beginning of the autumn term. They also received information about the new rewards system which was introduced at the same time - the students are extremely pleased with this.

"The policy went on the website in September and the parents were reminded of the change in the October newsletter.

"The change of making it explicit that leather style school shoes should be worn is part of enabling our students look as smart as possible and continue build a sense of pride in themselves.

"Where students were sent home parents were contacted. Where they couldn't be contacted the child was kept at school.

"I have a firm but fair approach. "All students have returned in the correct uniform and look extremely smart.

"The action we took meant any uniform issues were quickly resolved.

"My main aim is to work with parents to support their child's education. We work extremely well with parents.

"We have a parents focus group which invites parents into the school to hear about the schools work and gain their views.

"We have a thriving Parent's Association and have introduced Curriculum evenings so parents know details about their child's curriculum and how they can help support their learning.

"If there have been financial difficulties the school has supported parents with the purchase of shoes."

Comments (1)

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7:19pm Mon 14 Nov 11

Thingsgetsilly says...

For all these parents who defend the uniform policy, jolly hockey sticks to you! However can we spare a thought for a minute about what school is all about? What are we trying to achieve? It's about learning and development not about segregation and singling children out because they have the wrong material of shoes. My son who is 15 and attends the Beacon School has been told to change his shoes but I fail to see why. They are leather and they have no brand logo or markings on them but they are the wrong style, as he was told. My daughter who attends the Beacon School has today been told to change her skirt as she is not allowed to wear a skirt that has pleats in it. Tell me where is the common sense in that? Also spare a thought for families with say four or five children who have to find money for uniforms and shoes for all the children. It costs me around £500 in school uniforms for all my children and I am a struggling student nurse. I go to SWOTS to buy the uniform and I comply as far as I am aware but the wrong style of shoes and a pleat in a skirt? It's great if you can afford it but if the Beacon want to impose such ridiculous policies then they should ensure they have some sort of school fund that can assess parents to see if they can actually afford the uniform and if not offer some sort of assistance. Then and only then when they assess each family and they know they either have the funds to pay for all items of the uniform or they offer assistance to get the full uniform can they send pupils home for not complying. The country is in an economy and not all residents of Surrey are rich, there are wide variations in wealth even in this part of the country. Those who are campaigning and backing the Beacon with this stupid policy should congratulate themselves for being in a fortunate enough position to be able to afford it but you should also be thinking about the less fortunate among us who are struggling to make ends meet and can't afford to spend ridiculous amounts of money on shoes that the Beacon want to comply with the policy. As long as the children are in school uniform and are clean with black leather shoes then why does it really matter what style the shoes are ? Wake up people and spend your energy campaigning for something that may well make a difference to people's lives and spend less time being so selfish that you forget there is a wide range of families with a variety of incomes living in this area and they don't get any assistance to buy a uniform.
For all these parents who defend the uniform policy, jolly hockey sticks to you! However can we spare a thought for a minute about what school is all about? What are we trying to achieve? It's about learning and development not about segregation and singling children out because they have the wrong material of shoes. My son who is 15 and attends the Beacon School has been told to change his shoes but I fail to see why. They are leather and they have no brand logo or markings on them but they are the wrong style, as he was told. My daughter who attends the Beacon School has today been told to change her skirt as she is not allowed to wear a skirt that has pleats in it. Tell me where is the common sense in that? Also spare a thought for families with say four or five children who have to find money for uniforms and shoes for all the children. It costs me around £500 in school uniforms for all my children and I am a struggling student nurse. I go to SWOTS to buy the uniform and I comply as far as I am aware but the wrong style of shoes and a pleat in a skirt? It's great if you can afford it but if the Beacon want to impose such ridiculous policies then they should ensure they have some sort of school fund that can assess parents to see if they can actually afford the uniform and if not offer some sort of assistance. Then and only then when they assess each family and they know they either have the funds to pay for all items of the uniform or they offer assistance to get the full uniform can they send pupils home for not complying. The country is in an economy and not all residents of Surrey are rich, there are wide variations in wealth even in this part of the country. Those who are campaigning and backing the Beacon with this stupid policy should congratulate themselves for being in a fortunate enough position to be able to afford it but you should also be thinking about the less fortunate among us who are struggling to make ends meet and can't afford to spend ridiculous amounts of money on shoes that the Beacon want to comply with the policy. As long as the children are in school uniform and are clean with black leather shoes then why does it really matter what style the shoes are ? Wake up people and spend your energy campaigning for something that may well make a difference to people's lives and spend less time being so selfish that you forget there is a wide range of families with a variety of incomes living in this area and they don't get any assistance to buy a uniform. Thingsgetsilly
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