The wrong trousers: Headteacher hits back after parents’ fury

NDET 21-11-12 MC 1
Springwell School
NDET 21-11-12 MC 1 Springwell School

A headteacher has responded after parents were upset about being asked to buy uniform from the school, rather than from local retailers.

At an open evening for the new year seven intake at Springwell Community College, in Staveley, parents were told that as part of the school uniform changes, pupils must only wear trousers and skirts purchased directly from the school.

The school’s trousers cost £15, almost triple the cost of a similar product in local shops and supermarkets.

But Ian Wingfield headteacher of Springwell said the school took great pride in the appearance of students and the majority of parents were pleased with the changes.

He added: “During the last few years there has been a large growth in the range of trouser styles being marketed as ‘school uniform’ by supermarkets and other outlets. This has presented problems of consistency and has taken up a lot of staff time as we try to ensure that the college dress code is adhered to.

The idea to introduce a single uniform supplier was suggested by parents during one of our open forum meetings. We’ve since consulted with parents and are pleased to say the majority support the change.

“It is not a money making scheme and that parents will deal directly with the uniform supplier and as such no income is received by the college. We realise the trousers aren’t the cheapest available, but they are of a very good quality and the price compares favourably with items of a similar standard from other suppliers. Where necessary, we’re working with parents to spread the cost across a number of months.”

The items available from the school are plain black and do not contain any specialised logos, so parents are asking why they cannot buy their own.

Martin Lewis, a parent who attended the meeting said that some people walked out after the deputy head refused to move on the subject.

Parents at the meeting were also alledgely told by a number of teachers, that if pupils were not wearing the correct uniform they would be given detention, followed by ‘isolation’ and banning from after school clubs.

If that failed, then pupils may well be excluded from school.

Nick Bagshaw, a former councillor and deputy mayor, and Paul Mann, a former councillor said that they had been asked by some parents to raise the matter with the school at a forum meeting about a month ago, as the issue of uniform was already causing some concern.

He believes that they reached a compromise with the headmaster, who agreed that parents could pay by instalments to help spread the cost.