Short skirt-wearing students told to change uniform or school

September 21, 2010 | by | 1 Comment

A row has broken out after a tall schoolgirl was hauled into assembly alongside 200 fellow pupils and ”berated” by the headmaster – because her skirt was TWO INCHES too short.

Willowy Sherry Austen, 14, was dragged from class for a specially arranged meeting when youngsters were all told to change their uniform or find another school.

Nailsea School, near Bristol, enforces a strict dress code and written guidelines require girls to wear skirts that hang just above the knee.

But 5ft 10in Sherry, who towers above her peers, struggles to find skirts which are long enough for her 36in leg – and the only one she could find is considered ”too high”.

Sherry’s father, retired airline pilot Mike, and her mother Jeannette tried to find one suitable for the start of term, but found the shop recommended by the school had none in stock.

And earlier this month, headteacher David New ordered all those who failed to comply with the guidelines – including Sherry – in for a hastily arranged assembly.

Sherry’s parents were sent a letter informing them that if she wore the same skirt, she would be sent home until she had ”appropriate dress”.

But dad Mike Austen is standing firm and is refusing to fork out for a new one.

A row broke out at the same school at the start of the last academic year after banning tight fitting trousers because they were ”too sexy” for the classroom.

Yesterday dad Mike slammed the ”bully boy” tactics, which left many of the pupils, some of which had only just started secondary school, in tears.

Pilot Mike, 62, from Nailsea, said: ”His approach was completely out of line and he handled it in a very intimidatory manner.

”I have absolutely no problem with a school uniform, and actually agree schools should employ one to maintain standards.

”But they should also ensure that the shop they recommend for parents to buy the uniform actually has the specified garments in stock.

”After hunting for days to find a suitable skirt, we settled on one from Asda which we both thought was appropriate.

”I was furious when Sherry came home, almost in tears, to tell me she had been told to find another school unless she changed it.

”The skirt is not too tight and certainly not indecent. If it was, I wouldn’t let her out the front door.

”Sherry is very tall for her age which makes it difficult to find one that fits and is suitable.”

School guidelines dictate girls wear a black skirt which hang below the knee with a level hem and no splits or pleats.

They recommend parents shop for uniforms at School Togs in the town, but did not have any in stock when mum Jeannette visited.

Jeannette, 46, went to several shops to find a suitable skirt for Sherry, who has just started her GCSE’s, and settled on a £7 plain black one from Asda.

But on September 7, Sherry and around 200 fellow pupils were hand-picked out of class and ordered into an assembly whilst reprimanded by Mr New.

He told them: ”If you are not prepared to cooperate with the school’s uniform policy you should get an application to apply to another school.”

Yesterday, the school refused to back down in their demands and said they uphold strict rules on pupils’ uniform.

A statement said: ”The Nailsea School uniform was designed and selected by students following a fashion show and ballot and is approved by the governors.

”We believe we are the only school nationally whose uniform has been both designed and selected in this way.

”Nailsea School will never apologise for having high standards in terms of achievement, behaviour or appearance.”

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  1. David Band says:

    I can agree that this ‘ban on unsuitable skirts’ went a little too far and while standards of discipline and behaviour are important for pupils while they learn at school, some more rational thinking needs to take place with regards to girls’ school uniform. I personally feel that girls shouldn’t wear make-up and should only wear studs or sleepers as earings but some leniency needs to be given about skirts and stockings wear. While I fully support measures to protect children from sexual predators I don’t agree that it’s necessarily because some girls wear short skirts. A friend of mine who works as a teaching assistant in a South London comprehensive not far from where I live told me that around 20% of the girls wear short skirts with ankle length socks during the summer largely for comfort more than fashion, whereas the other girls may wear the same length skirts or longer with stockings or trousers. Occasionally I’ve noticed one or two school-girls wearing a short skirt and roll-top stockings which I feel is inappropriate for school and could encourage unwanted attention by males.

    I just think we have to be sensible about this and not go too far banning certain lengths of skirts but at the same time discourage provocative dress.

    David

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