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.”
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