A furious Sheffield mum was forced to pick her daughter up from school after staff said her trousers were ‘too tight.
Claire O’Donoghue sent her daughter, Scarlett, off to Forge Valley School on Tuesday for her first day in Year 10.
However, later that day she received a phone call from the school complaining that her skirt was ‘unacceptably tight’.
Scarlett, 15, instead wore trousers to school the next day but staff once again deemed them ‘too tight’ and threatened to send her home or put her in isolation.
“The school rang me and said she could either come home, go into isolation for the full day or get changed and then come back for the day.
“I was livid. I didn’t think they were too tight as they were regular school trousers that I’d purchased from the ASDA school range.
“I did buy her some new trousers and got her back to school but I put a post on Facebook complaining about it and couldn’t believe the response I got.
“There were more than 100 comments from parents with similar experiences and it seems around 40 girls had been sent home on that Wednesday.”
After the ‘overwhelming’ response on Facebook, Claire decided to launch a petition urging the school to review its uniform policy.
Claire wrote: “I totally understand the need for a uniform policy but believe it may be time for Forge Valley to review this policy as there doesn’t seem to be much consistency in the implementation of it.
“Students are happier and learn better when they are comfortable and I feel more emphasis is being placed on how they look rather than their education.
“The school would have been happy for my daughter to miss a whole day of school because they deemed her trousers too tight which I rigorously disagree with.
“This is not a petition for a uniform ban, just a more relaxed approach to uniform standards.”
However, after speaking to Dale Barrowclough, the school’s headteacher, Claire was told there would be ‘no relaxation or review on the policy’.
Mr Barrowclough explained: “We have the uniform policy because it promotes a professional ethos in the school and it allows pupils who can’t afford branded clothes to avoid bullying.
“This is something that was raised by parents and which is why they wanted the uniform policy and it would be unfair to change it now.
“I’m not prepared to relax our high standards. It’s why Forge Valley is oversubscribed and we could not say that when the school opened.
“Parents are always given adequate warning about next year’s uniform in my end of summer term letter which says that full uniform must be worn for the start of September.”
The guidelines issues on the Forge Valley website for school uniforms state ‘all pupils are required to wear the school uniform’.
It states: “Plain black formal tailored trousers with a front pleat/crease in suit type material. Must not be tight fitting. Skirt Plain black pencil or pleated knee length skirt in suit type material (must not be tight fitting).”
Mr Barrowclough said that a ‘small number of pupils’ were sent home from school on Wednesday but said he could empathise with parents over buying uniforms.
He said: “We sent home a girl with bright green hair, girls wearing mini skirts, trousers that are verging on being leggings and girls wearing black trainers. It clearly does not comply with our uniform policy.
“A number of suppliers that sell school uniforms don’t comply with our policy. Parents have been given adequade warnings and today all pupils came in dressed impeccably.
“I believe we are consistent but with any policy, some sense of judgement needs to be made. But tight trousers verging on leggings is not school uniform.”
Mr Barrowclough said he would not want to introduce a logo school uniform as that would increase the cost to parents.
“A lot of girls also have issues about their weight and their body image,” explained Claire.
“So if you have an adult telling you the skirt is too tight it’s going to hugely harm your self esteem.
“Scarlett has been very upset and angry about the whole thing. We spent over £80 on new school uniforms and the school are not going to give me that back.
“She’s very upset but at least a lot of other parents feel exactly the same way as us.”