Our grandson returned back to Newbold Community School last Monday, all spick and span, and ready to face another school year.
Within the first hour his class was lined up for a uniform inspection.
Our grandson was one of five singled out for attention.
He was then given a card informing him that his shoes were unsatisfactory, and if he had not got a pair of regulation shoes by the next day, he would face sanctions.
In the weeks leading up to last Monday we had been saving up for a new pair of regulation school shoes, jumpers, trousers and everything else that goes with a new school uniform:
His grandmum took him to the town centre to choose a pair of suitable shoes. They visited a well-known shoe shop and chose a pair which cost £45.
The shoes were not bought from either the trainer, boot or fashion sections - but the shoe section.
They were regulation black, mainly leather, with no logos or motifs. The only difference between these and other shoes was they had velcro fasteners.
I understand the need for students to wear a uniform that makes them feel smart and part of school community.
What I object to is the manner in which the school treated our grandson and others.
Later in the day he visited us and recollected the day’s events. His grandmum went to the school to explain about his shoes, but was dealt with in an off-handed manner.
The threat of sanction was again issued, he was to be put on a two-week report if he didn’t attend school the next day in a pair of regulation shoes.
If you are wondering where his parents are in all this, I’ll explain. His mum and dad are seperated.
Dad works on poverty wages and has just enough money to pay his bus fare to work and essentials, never mind such things as school uniforms.
His mum is unemployed, desperate to find a job, and living below the poverty line.
So we ‘affluent’ state pensioners have to step in from time to time and help out - sound familiar to other Derbyshire Times readers? I dare say so.
So which planet may I ask does the head teacher at Newbold Community School come from? Certainly not this one.
Upon further investigation we discovered that there were dozens of other students walking around in plimsoles because they didn’t have the required regulation shoes.
This at the very least has been badly handled and at worst smacks of Victorian authoritarianism.
If the school want to attain better OFSTED ratings, don’t blame the students and their families for not being able to afford suitable attire - put the blame where it should lay - at the Governments’ door.
In conclusion, I cannot imagine what the teachers feel like having to be the shoe police for the headteacher.
If they don’t feel uncomfortable - they are in the wrong profession.