Aston Academy uniform row: ‘Children's education must always come first’ says MP Alexander Stafford
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A South Yorkshire MP says he been approached by a "huge number" of concerned parents with children at a secondary school near Sheffield in recent months.
Yesterday (September 11), MP for Rother Valley, Alexander Stafford, posted on his official Facebook page that he would be contacting Aston Academy after parents raised concerns over "inconsistency in uniform rules", which saw dozens of students punished.
Today, he has now said that he will work with the school and parents to ensure that getting an education is an "enjoyable" experience for students.
Mr Stafford said: “Over the last few months, I have spoken to a huge number of parents whose children attend Aston Academy about a range of issues. I have also attended meetings with the headteacher and the wider leadership team at the school, in order to raise some of these concerns in person.
"The most important thing is ensuring that young people are in school and getting a good education so that they leave school with the skills and qualifications they need to pursue their chosen career.
"I want them to have a happy, healthy and enjoyable school experience so I will continue to work with teachers, parents, schools and, where appropriate, students, to ensure that this is the focus.”
The Swallownest school has faced heavy criticism by parents since the beginning of the new term for its uniform policy, and yesterday it saw ‘hundreds’ of students taken out of lessons and placed into 'internal exclusion' for wearing incorrect uniform, despite passing uniform checks in the previous week.
One mother said the new “draconian” uniform rules means pupils are being “denied an education” by being placed in ‘internal exclusion’ with no school work to do.
In July the school faced further criticism from parents after the new headteacher Afshah Saeed announced a new no-trainers policy, which parents launched a petition against. Mr Stafford arranged a meeting with Mrs Saeed in response to concerns raised by parents at the time, however any issues discussed were not disclosed by the school or Mr Stafford.
On Aston Academy’s website, the policy states “all shoes must be plain black and made of leather or material which looks like leather”. A ban on conventional ties was also enforced, with only clip-on ties permitted.