06:00 September 7, 2022
Families are furious over shelling out for new shoes after a large group of Year 11 students were sent home on the first day of term for incorrect shoes.
Some 30 out of 200 students at Taverham High School on Beech Avenue were barred from entering class on September 6, according to principal Dr Roger Harris.
He said he sent a clear email to parents on June 23 regarding which shoes were and were not appropriate.
Pupils without the right smart black shoes “appropriate for the workplace” would be turned away – even if they were appropriate last term – he also warned.
Parents blasted the school’s decision, saying the burden of paying for extra pairs of shoes is difficult during a cost-of-living crisis.
Dr Harris said the school was offering financial support and believed that sufficient notice had been given.
Michelle Bull, 52, from Drayton, whose daughter was sent home, said: “I would understand if she walked in in stilettos.
“It’s unfair and disrupts his learning and will be an unauthorized absence for something as stupid as a pair of shoes. It’s narrow-minded and insular.
“Students have endured homeschooling before. I never complain but it pissed me off.”
Anna Eaves, 37, from Horsford, also saw her son sent home and said she ‘understands the need for a uniform’.
However, she added: “To turn children away because of something on their feet is wrong. There are a lot of frustrated parents.
“I’m hesitant to buy new shoes but I don’t want him to miss school.”
Lucina May, 43, from Taverham, said: ‘It’s a complete disregard for parents when it comes to the cost of living.
The single-parent, self-employed estate agent said she had to make her parents pay the £64.99 for the right pair of shoes.
Dr Harris, who became principal in January this year, said the school had put in place shoe and uniform rules to improve behaviour.
He said: “Changing uniforms changes performance and behavior. It comes from our drive to be one of the best schools in Norfolk.”
The principal added that students traveling by bus were not turned away at the gates.
The uniform rules are changing
Taverham High School’s action to turn away some of Year 11 pupils on their first day back comes after a government rule aimed at helping parents tackle the rising cost of school uniforms.
The Cost of School Uniforms from the Department for Education means that schools in England need to ensure that school uniform costs are reasonable and that parents get the best value for money.
Schools are now required to help cut costs by taking steps to remove unnecessary branded items and allowing more street options, such as supermarket branded uniforms.
The new guidelines also require schools to use competitive and transparent contracts with suppliers.
MP Nadhim Zahawi, who was Secretary of State for Education when the guidelines were introduced, said: “School uniforms should never be a burden on parents or a barrier to student access. to education.”