A head teacher has agreed a uniform “amnesty” after a parent complained of her son being threatened with detention for wearing the wrong trousers and shoes.
Lynn Poole was incensed when her 15-year-old son Daniel came home from his Washington school telling her he was in trouble for his shoes and trousers – which had been bought from Asda’s school clothing range.
The mum-of-two contacted St Robert of Newminster Catholic School, but says she couldn’t reach a resolution with staff and struggled to get a response from the head teacher.
Nick Hurn, who took up the post of executive head around a month ago, has now responded to the Chronicle confirming that there will be an amnesty to allow parents the chance to replace uniforms before the start of the new September term.
The problems began for Daniel around three weeks ago when he was pulled up by one of his teachers for wearing what they described as jeans and he was told he would be put on detention.
When Lynn learned of this she called the school and explained that she bought the black slim leg trousers from Asda’s school range but she was informed that they weren’t in keeping with St Robert’s strict uniform policy.
There have been numerous incidents since involving Daniel’s black pumps – which Lynn says hundreds of the pupils wear – causing the mum-of-two to reach breaking point.
She attempted to contact staff, including Mr Hurn, to explain that she can’t afford to replace the items with it being so close to the end of the school year, but she had no success.
Lynn said: “This time they really got my back up because they wouldn’t answer my calls.
“It was a worry because we couldn’t afford to fork out on new uniform that was only going to be worn for a matter of days, I have to buy what I’m going to get my money’s worth out of.
“If they put themselves in my position, they’d see how hard it is to budget from week to week.”
Lynn believes the school has suffered as a result of changing head teachers over the years and says there has been a noticeable change in standards.
“The kids have no stability. Daniel has been there four years and I think the school has gone right downhill,” Lynn said.
New executive head teacher Mr Hurn has plans to change that and he told the Chronicle that strict policies, such as the uniform, will play an important part in bettering the school and making the pupils happy.
Mr Hurn, who is also head at Cardinal Hume Catholic School in Gateshead, said: “The uniform has not really been as it should, a lot of the students are wearing skinny jeans, but they are not school trousers and trousers are easy to put right.”
He added: “We have a strict uniform policy and I make no apologies for that. I wear uniform everyday and the staff wear uniform. But we need to be reasonable as I understand things maybe weren’t as they should have been before I arrived so there’s an amnesty until September.”
Asda declined to comment when contacted by the Chronicle.
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