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Girls get short-skirt short shrift

Reporter: Gillian Potts
Date online: 17 June 2014

ANGER is growing over an Oldham school accused of putting “petty” uniform rules before children’s education.

Waterhead Academy’s skirt-length policy has resulted in one girl missing three days of school and another pupil two days. Mia Bentley and Olivia Jobson, both 12, were among several girls sent home from the school because staff said their skirts were too short.

Mia’s mum Alyson and Olivia’s mum Deborah sent their daughters back to school next day in the same skirts, insisting they meet the length requirements.

The girls were sent home again because, according to Deborah, the length was correct but the material caused the skirts to ride up while walking, sitting and climbing stairs.

By Wednesday both parents were so upset they went into school to resolve things.

While Olivia was allowed back as long as she kept pulling her skirt down to the right length, Alyson failed to reach agreement and Mia missed another day. Even worse, when Mia was finally allowed back wearing the same skirt on Thursday, she was put on report - teachers had to record a comment on her skirt in every lesson.

Alyson says the situation has been so upsetting - and dealt with so badly - that she is considering removing Mia and her sister Libby (14) from the school.

“I’m absolutely disgusted Mia has been out of school for three days over this,” said Alyson, who runs the nearby Church Inn pub. “It’s petty and a really bad way of dealing with such an issue.

“As far as I’m concerned her skirt is the required length but they say it rides up when she walks or goes up the stairs but then don’t all clothes in those circumstances? It’s not an issue over rolling it up and she has tried other skirts but they’re too long and too big. “It’s over the top and I feel Mia is being singled out now. I’m appalled and upset by it.”

Deborah, from Clarksfield, said: “I’m absolutely livid, it’s atrocious they’ll go to such lengths over a skirt not to mention the time it took me to actually get to speak someone to sort it out.

“They are both good kids doing well at school, yet they’re happy to put them through this and allow them to miss days. If they’re going to be pedantic they need clear and concise rules on uniform. Saying it’s the wrong material and it makes them look undignified is outrageous.”

Waterhead Academy’s community director Alison Taylor said: “All parents and students are aware of the Academy’s uniform policy. It is the responsibility of parents to send their children to school appropriately dressed.”


It’s a shame the schools don’t pay the same attention and passion to bullying and truancy, etc instead of focusing and punishing silly little things like this, sort out the big issues.

I'd expect that a school that has a GCSE English & Maths pass rate of less that 1 in 2 would have more pressing concerns.

get on with educating our children, do what you are paid for, it is not the 1960s.

Just wear a longer skirt girls, it's not worth the hassle. Rules are rules, we all have to comply by them throughout life.

I don't see the problem. It's a good lesson for kids to learn what happens in the real world when they go in to full time employment and they need to abide by dress codes and all company policies and procedures. It's not hard to check what the requirements are before the start of term

Why do parents jump up and down about rules and regulations. Maybe correct length in the pics but who will hazard a guess they roll the skirts up at the waistband. All girls do it. Abide by the rules and dont instil in your kids that it is okay to flout them.

If this is a petty issue, as the parents say, why don't they just resolve it by accepting what the school says?

Well said the community director - short statement, to the point, and clarifies where the responsibility lies.
Conforming to rules is part of education - since when did 12 year old girls, (or their mothers) call the shots?

Nice to see parents supporting the school.

The parents are so outraged their children are kept off school.. A lot of good that will do them...

Community Director in schools these days?

They did exactly the same with Molly. I went into school and they had me waiting 2 and half hrs before anybody would see me. Im appalled at what they are doing they need to deal with the issues that are serious in that school not the petty skirt situation. they have more important things to sort out and leave the girls alone that are doing well in there education. We have wrote a letter in giving our concerns and hopefully will be removing molly from waterhead academy.

This is what education is all about! Half an inch on a skirt is so much more important than reading and writing.

when i was at Hollins Secondary Modern in the 1950's our skirts had to 2" below the knee end of story the school uniform is their for a reason and parents should abide by the rules. Its seems to me is a free for all these days and parents not going along with the rules

How trivial of the academy!

When my mother was at school she was once sent home because she forgot her gas mask!

Now, that is important!

As the parents say, it is a petty issue, but it is two-way petty - the parents should support the school and play by the rule! If the parents continue to challenge the school, what example does this set for their children? So, pull them out of school, disrupting their education and friendships in the process, and no doubt be in the same situation at the next school - what then?

My advice is simple - ACCEPT THE SCHOOLS DECISION,

Don't children like, grow?
I remember my pants being half mast at scool after a growth spurt
It's coming to the end of year and parents don't want to be buying new clothes right now, or maybe can't afford to.
It's ok for a school to send children home but when they are taken out parents get a fine. Double standards? Maybe I'll send my kids out of uniform if ever I need to take them out. Save me £120

I have never known a school that instills more negative in a a young life as waterhead . I do believe it has more serious concerns than school uniforms. I have now took my son out of that hell hole after 21 months bullying and 5 assaults.

Congratulations to WA on enforcing this rule.

Too many times you see these young children walking around with their skirts barely covering their buttocks.

Well done on making them have some self respect and enforcing this policy.

If it's "such a petty issue" then why are you making this such a big one?.

Wear a skirt long enough.

Not too hard is it?

And yet another example of parents going up against the schools causing problems.

Any wonder kids think rules are for everyone else but them?

The rules were there these kids went to that school - so their parents should abide by them.

This is typical of many peoples' attitude to authority - they want to do what THEY want to do irrespective of the rules.

If these girls are allowed to have skirts to their own desired length, then suppose another girl then wants her skirt another inch shorter - just how far do you go on the matter ?

These parents are just showing their kids that it is OK to break rules just for their own benefit.

Seems to me it's the parents being petty. They know the rules, and as has already been said, girls roll the skirts up to make them shorter. It's hardly new ...... We did it at school 30 years ago, and no doubt our mums before us. Difference is, if we got in trouble our parents didn't cry to the papers

the length of the skirts is the correct length?
so what's the problem?
just because maybe they ride up as mentioned due to day to day movement (or readjustment once at the school gates as most girls in reality do).

the skirt is still the correct length?

so why have these girls been sent home? missing valuable days schooling and denying them their education?

I wonder what would happen if a parent decided to take their child out of school for a holiday in term time?

Rules are Rules, Get on with it.
Its a life lesson.

It seems that hundreds of other girls at the school can manage to comply with the dress code. This is probably a smoke screen to detract from the fact that there is always a back story... We all know from school there is no smoke without fire.

they are there to learn.when we wore our school uniforms on the first day assembly.we were told that the uniform was worn to represent the school.how you behaved both in school,and travelling to,and from school reflects on the school.we also had a dress code when you eventually went in to the world of work.

enforce the rules.

Then make sure that the correct items are avialable to purchase - suppliers and schools sign from different sheets.

Why were these girls sent home, the dress/skirts where the same size!

OLDHAM WATCHER, the skirts in the pictures are knee length, not "showing the buttocks", if they where I would agree with you and the school......but they are not.

A school cannot be successful without the support of both parents and the general community.
If a child cannot get the uniform right, it only follows that other failures could follow. Emabarrassing children like this is disgraceful. Support your school and have a mature attitude.

Problem is the over sexualization of children.

Fitton Hill. And the ties are actually tied correctly in the picture, but rest assured, the majority of kids DO NOT wear ties correctly. Information from where ? I have two teenage daughters at secondary school.

Easy solution - ban skirts and let everyone wear trousers.


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