Melissa Pope said her daughter is now ‘reluctant’ to go back
A mum was left furious after her daughter was sent home from school for wearing designer shoes.
Numerous students were either sent home or put in isolation at Grace College in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, for wearing unsuitable footwear on their first day back.
One pupil was sent home for wearing Nike branded walking boots while the pupil in question wore Vivienne Westwood pumps.
The students had been just hours into their first day back on Tuesday, September 5 before they were sent packing by staff.
Mum-of-two Melissa Pope said her 11-year-old daughter was forced to spend the day in isolation until her grandmother was able to pick her up, with the youngster now reluctant to go back.
A number of pupils were sent home for wearing the designer pumps
Melissa told Chronicle Live: “My daughter has had her first day at secondary school. She’s been sitting in a room not learning anything at all and not wanting to go back. They’ve said she can’t wear them for health and safety because the shoe doesn’t cover the top of the foot. I asked if I could get her a loafer and they said that still wasn’t acceptable, it had to be a brogue type of shoe.
“I just don’t see why, I don’t understand it. She was wearing them for the last two years of primary school and she didn’t have any problems. I think it’s just a power thing. There were so many girls sent home today. It’s a school, it’s not a camp. They’re getting treated like they’re in the army and they have got to do this and that and wear this and that.”
Phlebotomist Melissa continued: “The only thing it’s done today is disrupt a whole school. She hasn’t done anything or had any lessons. She doesn’t know what the school is like. She’s just been stuck in a room. I’m not going to buy another pair of shoes, she will just not go back. I will try and get her into a different school.”
The dad of a year nine student who chose to remain anonymous, claims a “large proportion” of girls had been sent home for wearing the black Vivienne Westwood shoes, which feature the brand’s logo on the front.
He said: “It’s ridiculous, it’s way over the top. They’re not taking into account their education. They have been off for six to seven weeks already and they’re going to keep them off further for a pair of shoes.
“They’ve had all that time off during the pandemic where they’ve had to stare at tablets and iPads to try and get some sort of education. The North East has the lowest GCSE results in the country and we’ve got a secondary school sending kids in year nine – when they start to knuckle down for GCSEs – home for a pair of shoes. Surely their education and their GCSEs are more important than a pair of shoes?”
The dad sympathised with his fellow parents, some of whom have shelled out as much as £100 on their kids’ shoes. He added: “They could have sent a letter home to say, ‘We appreciate that kids want these types of shoes and they’ve probably spent a lot of money on them, but can you please make sure they wear a different pair of shoes if possible’.
“Not something as abrupt as sending them home and expecting them to have a pair of shoes straight away. We’re in the middle of a cost of living crisis. Parents have probably scrimped and saved up for these shoes that were £100 because their kids harped on for them because all their friends are wearing them. I’m quite angry that they are clearly focusing on matters that are less concerning then others that have been raised to them. There’s more important things that should be addressed rather than shoes.”
Another pupil was sent home for wearing walking boots
The mum of the year 10 boy, who also didn’t want to be identified, revealed she had to take time out of work to collect her son. She claims she was also asked if she could take another student home with her as well as their parents were at work – even though she had been working herself.
The woman, who is working as a student nurse, said: “It’s a Nike walking boot – he walks to school and back everyday and they are robust. They want them to wear office shows, like brogues. That’s not good for them to walk to school in, especially in the rain. I have told the teacher if they are not going to accept him into school they have to wait until I get paid at the end of the month.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous, a shoe is a shoe. Fair enough if it was white converse or bright trainers but they’re shoes. It doesn’t change how they’re educated. It doesn’t make any difference what they wear on their feet. Uniforms are expensive enough. He’s been home for six weeks, I want him back to a routine. He needs his education. He hasn’t been able to get his timetable.”
Grace College, previously known as Joseph Swan School, told the same publication that school shoes should be plain black and devoid of fashion logos to ensure consistency across the college, ensure safety and protect students from pressure to follow trends.
A spokesperson explained: “Grace College is proud of its uniform for the professional image it portrays, and we expect students to wear it with pride. We aim for high standards at all times and wearing the correct uniform in the correct way is a significant and important starting point in setting and maintaining these standards. Our uniform policy is designed to be fair, equal and affordable to all students, which is especially important during a cost of living crisis.
“Our uniform is smart, practical and good value and clear guidance on it is provided to families prior to their children joining the college; the policy can also be found within three clicks on our website. All families are aware that school shoes should be plain black and polishable, and devoid of fashion logos. Our website offers guidance on eight different styles and we name recommended suppliers.
“This is to ensure consistency across the college, to ensure safety, to protect students from pressure to follow trends, to prevent bullying and to keep costs as low as possible. Our policy is always to ask students to correct their uniform where they can.
“We have a small supply of uniform in college to support students to do this straightaway. Where it is not possible to rectify a uniform issue, we always contact parents and seek to work with them to put things right. We have had to do this with a number of students today.”