A SCHOOL in the Bradford district will change its uniform come September to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Beckfoot Oakbank School, in Oakworth Road, Keighley, announced the news in a letter to parents and carers on Tuesday, June 16.

It revealed that the secondary school, which has more than 1,500 pupils on its roster, will scrap blazers, ties and shirts at the start of the next academic year.

Polo t-shirts and jumpers will be used instead and these will not have to be emblazoned with the school logo.

This is partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also after feedback from parents and students over the last academic year.

The letter from headteacher, Tina Smith, states: "We miss the students so much - they really do make the school.

"We don't know yet across our country what the Autumn term will hold but for now we are planning as usual to all be back in September.

"This time of heightened awareness about hygiene and social distancing we know will not be going away any time soon and as a result we will naturally have to make some changes.

"DfE (Department for Education) guidance (which we have followed throughout) states that blazers and ties are not encouraged as it is recommended that students and staff come to school each day in full clean clothes in the interest of safety for all.

"Washing a blazer or a tie, or even washing and ironing a clean shirt daily is not realistic."

The school usually has two separate uniforms to be used at different times of the year, but this has also been scrapped, with one "common uniform" to be used all year round.

Students expressed in feedback that they preferred the polo t-shirt and school jumper over blazer, shirt and tie.

The letter states: "We have listened and agreed that only polo t-shirts and a school jumper or cardigan are to be worn.

"There will no longer be the expectation of wearing a shirt, tie and blazer.

"This supports the recent COVID19 guidelines whereby uniform should be easy to clean on a regular basis and the polo t-shirt allows for this to happen."

Beckfoot Oakbank also decided that the polo t-shirt would no longer need the school's logo emblazoned on it.

This was done to keep costs down for parents and carers, as well as for accessbility reasons, because not all suppliers are up-and-running following the crisis and lockdown.

Instead, pupils must wear a polo t-shirt (t-shirt with a collar) of the colour that represents their year group.

The letter states: "Local supermarkets will be stocking these to keep costs down."

There are also "large but necessary" changes being made to the school's footwear policy.

The letter states: "After talking to students it is clear that lots of money is being spent by families on expensive footwear for school, namely Adidas/ Nike trainers costing £60+.

"The students are also wearing these trainers outside of school resulting in families having to replace the trainers at least three times a year, again adding to expenses.

"This will now change."

Mrs Smith says "plain black leather looking shoes" will be the only acceptable form of footwear.

Trainers are banned.

The letter explains this means schools shoes can be used for that purpose alone, which will keep the cost of replacing footwear throughout the year down.

The school will have shoes of all different sizes that students can borrow, if they need to.

Changes are also being made to the school's false nails and facial piercings policy.

False acrylic and gel nails will be banned from September, while facial piercings must be removed before coming to school and remain out until the student leaves the site.

The letter states: "We have reviewed this and gathered feedback from the teachers planning physical lessons.

"All have stated that it is a serious breach of health and safety to have false acrylic/gel nails on whilst taking part in science experiments, PE lessons or during technology and art sessions.

"We have listened and so the decision has been made that these will no longer be permitted.

"We want all of our students to be able to access all of their lessons safely."

Mrs Smith reminded pupils that "natural hair colour" will still be required from September due to the school being a "professional working environment".

Sanctions for "uniform breaches" will remain the same.

A same-day social-time detention will be used in the first instance.

Repeat detentions will result in time in isolation and a family meeting. 

The letter states: "These changes will really support families and show that as a school we listen and act on feedback as we really value your views.

"Emphasis on learning, high expectations and staying safe is much more important than student fashion and I am sure you would agree with this."