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Mother's outrage over Bushey Meads School’s branded uniform rules
An angry parent has written to the government over a Bushey school’s new uniform restrictions that have been described as "tantamount to bullying".
The concerned mother, who does not wish to be named, wrote to the minister of state for schools, David Laws MP, regarding the implementation of Bushey Meads School’s new uniform, which she says is "absolutely ridiculous".
From the start of this academic year, the Coldharbour Lane secondary school has introduced new regulation trousers and skirts for its students, which are embroidered with BMS just under the waistband.
In the letter, the mother told Mr Laws that the trousers, which cost £22.50, are "more than double the price of the perfectly acceptable trousers" she currently buys.
The mother, whose 14-year-old son goes to the school, said a letter from headteacher Keith Douglas told parents that children not wearing the branded trousers will be isolated from their normal classes.
She wrote to Mr Laws: "I hope you agree that this is completely unacceptable and detrimental to my son and other children whose parents find themselves in the same position as myself."
She said this was not in line with the Department for Education’s guidelines, which state that: "A pupil should not be made to feel uncomfortable, nor discriminated against, because their parents are unable to provide them with the required items of school uniform."
Speaking to the Watford Observer, the outraged parent said: "Personally, I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. The trousers cost more than £20 a pair, and at the rate children grow I can’t afford to pay that every few months for trousers."
She added: "I received a letter saying that children will be isolated from their normal classes if they aren’t wearing these trousers. I’m incensed about it. I think it’s tantamount to bullying.
"How can you affect a child’s education just because they aren’t wearing a pair of trousers that you can’t even see the letters on?"
Another mother whose two children go to the school said the new regulation trousers are a poor fit for her sons and that the new price will impact "severely on many parents on a tight budget".
Claire Lish said: "I will be very unhappy if my child, who has never been in trouble, is excluded because the uniform trousers simply do not fit him."
The head's PA, Roz Armitage, said: "We’ve introduced regulation trousers for girls and boys. Most of the schools have regulation skirts so we don’t see that as a particular problem. So we’re coming into line with a majority of other schools."
When asked why the school has introduced branded trousers which are only identified by embroidery under the waistband, Ms Armitage said: "In order to assist staff here in case there’s any discrepancy if a teacher wants to check they’re wearing the regulation item then, like other secondary schools in the area, we’ve got some discreet initials."
She added: "The trousers are from a standard uniform supplier so these items are definitely within the average normal price bracket that any other school would choose for a regulation item.
"Furthermore, we don’t have a blazer. That tends to be an expensive item so parents don’t have that added expense."
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