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100 pupils sent home by Bradford head teacher in uniform purge
A head teacher who sent home more than 100 pupils to get changed after coming to school in the wrong uniform has said tightening up the school’s policy has had a “dramatic impact” on the atmosphere in the school.
Challenge College sent 132 pupils from Years Seven to 11 home last Monday to get the correct uniform after they came to school wearing incorrect footwear.
The school’s new head teacher Ian Richardson said pupils had been informed before the summer of the uniform for the new term.
He said no pupils were sent home in the first week but 132 were sent home on Monday, nine on Tuesday, two on Wednesday and only one on Thursday. Mr Richardson said: “I think it’s really important that the students look smart because partly it gives them a sense of pride in themselves and the school and it focuses them on what they have come to school for today, which is to achieve their personal best in their studies.”
Mr Richardson said the school had also introduced a “corporate business dress” style for sixth-formers, with boys wearing black suits and white shirts and girls in black trousers or skirts, black jackets, or black shalwar kameezes, and white shirts and multi-coloured head scarves or neck scarves.
He said: “The impact has been dramatic. First of all the students look smarter, secondly there’s a noticeably calmer atmosphere on school, and that has been reported to me by a number of staff. They feel the pupils are much calmer because they know what the boundaries are and want to work within them.”
But Bradford West Respect MP George Galloway said: “It was a grotesque over-reaction by the headmaster. The way to deal with it would have been to invite the parents in, rather than to send the children home.”
Ian Murch, Bradford spokesman for the National Union of Teachers, said teachers could have a mixed view about the importance of uniforms.
He said: “If a school has a policy, they have to enforce it, but we do sometimes get teachers saying to us that they spend too much time dealing with what they think are essentially trivial matters relating to uniform.”
Councillor Ralph Berry , Bradford Council’s executive member for children’s services, said: “I’m pleased to hear these issues now seem to be resolved. I’m all in favour of this being done sensitively but firmly.”