DOZENS of pupils have been sent home from Sheffield’s newest school - for falling foul of a new dress code which has put into force.
Up to 70 youngsters arriving at Forge Valley School in Stannington were turned away for wearing the wrong kinds of shoes or the wrong shade of trousers.
One mum said she had eight teenagers spending the day at her home because their own parents were out at work all day and they had nowhere else to go.
Headteacher Diane McKinlay said parents had been given ample warning of the standards required which were essential for a smart, professional learning environment. Forge Valley has been created through the merger of Myers Grove and Wisewood schools and families say they have already spent over £70 on new uniforms for each child.
Angela Tierney, of May Road, Hillsborough, said her 16-year-old twins Jake and Conor, both just entering their final year, were found to be wearing the wrong shoes - which are supposed to be plain black.
“One pair has a three-quarter inch white badge on, the others have a tiny white circle with a green trim which can’t even be seen under their trousers,” she said.
“How wearing them adversely affects their learning I really don’t know. Other kids were sent home for the wrong shade of grey trousers or inappropriate hairstyles.
“It seems there’s something of a cattle market mentality, everyone has to look and dress the same. Everyone was inspected from head to toe and the whole attitude is really quite sinister,” Mrs Tierney added.
Debra Lowndes, of Marchwood Road, Stannington, said she had been forced to return from her job in London to buy her 15-year-old daughter Eleanor new shoes.
“I’m a single mum and I’ve had to come back and take a day off to sort this out - it infuriates me,” she said.
“Eleanor had a simple white stripe on her black shoes - they weren’t trainers, they just had a little logo on the side. Other girls were wearing pump-style shoes and they weren’t acceptable either. It’s like the rules are being made at random.”
Mum Elizabeth Gregory, of Powell Street, Netherthorpe, said her 15-year-old daughter Jessica had been wearing black shoes with a little cream bow, which were also said to be unacceptable.
“We had no problems like this at Myers. What’s annoying is that we’ve paid out for a completely new uniform, plus new PE kit and she’ll be finishing next May. Meanwhile Jessica is missing school down to her wrong shoes.”
Mrs McKinlay said details of the new dress code had been made quite clear to parents in letters sent home and to pupils in assemblies.
“It was made absolutely clear what was expected and that if things were not right, students would be sent home,” she said.
“We are keen to set the highest standards and we need to set our stall out now at the beginning of term. The vast majority of students are looking fantastic.
“A very small number were sent home, mostly for wearing the wrong footwear. It is all about looking smart and professional. There were no surprises for the students and they knew what the consequences would be if they were not dressed as required,” Mrs McKinlay added.