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."