Students sent home from Sheffield school in row over 'wrong' shoes

Outwood Academy said students were only excluded if they refused the offer of alternative footwear
Outwood Academy said students were only excluded if they refused the offer of alternative footwear
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A furious father has spoken out after students were turned away from a school in Sheffield for wearing the wrong kind of shoes.

Outwood Academy City said a 'small number' of pupils had been suspended after turning up in 'incorrect' shoes and refusing the offer of alternative footwear which complied with its uniform policy.

Outwood Academy City student Ashley Binley

Outwood Academy City student Ashley Binley

But one parent accused the Stradbroke Road secondary school of providing misleading advice and putting its dress code before students' education.

Steven Fletcher said his stepdaughter Ashley Binley, aged 14, was told her black leather shoes were unsuitable as they were 'Converse-style'. He said she refused to wear the slip-on shoes she was offered instead as she found them too uncomfortable.

He believes her shoes do meet the school's requirements, which state that only plain black shoes are acceptable, with no trainers, boots, pumps, canvas shoes, logos or heels higher than an inch allowed.

Mr Fletcher claimed at least 25 students were sent home for wearing the wrong uniform, but the school would not confirm how many children were affected.

The shoes worn by Ashley Binley

The shoes worn by Ashley Binley

"The school's motto is 'students first' but it seems to be more worried about what pupils are wearing than what education they're getting," he said.

"I feel the students' education is being jeopardised over a pair of shoes.

"I understand the need for a uniform policy but they need to state more clearly what shoes are acceptable, even if that means specifying a supplier."

Ashley was able to return to school the following day after staff provided a pair of brogues, which she found more comfortable, but Mr Fletcher said some other students were still being excluded over their footwear.

Outwood Grange Academies Trust, which runs the school, said its uniform policy clearly states what kind of shoes are acceptable.

A spokesperson for the trust said: "The academy has offered to provide alternative footwear for the small number of students concerned and this offer has been declined.

"The trust can confirm that it does not exclude students for wearing incorrect uniform. However, if a student refuses to follow a reasonable request to change their footwear, then this would lead to a fixed-term exclusion."

The trust added that it had purchased uniform for all students when it opened in 2013 and continued to provide schoolwear for those joining in year seven.