School makes pupils wear signs if uniform doesn’t meet standards

A school has been criticised for making children wear signs around their necks if their uniforms are not up to scratch.

Pupils at the state school Merchants’ Academy in Bristol have to wear a lanyard with a card bearing the message: “I have 24 hours to sort out my uniform.’’

Parents say pupils have found themselves in trouble for wearing brightly coloured headbands or shoes that appear too shiny.

The school insists that its new “positive behaviour” policy is already improving behaviour and the number of pupils placed into isolation or excluded isfewer than had been expected when the measures were introduced in July.

It denied claims from some parents that children had fallen foul of the new policy for looking at a clock or tapping a table. It also denies an allegation that as many as 100 pupils had been put into isolation over the rules.

Some parents expressed anger at the regime.

One parent, Petula Peacock, said: “This policy has caused absolute uproar. It’s stuff like making a girl wear a lanyard for wearing the wrong colour hairband.”

Another said: “The Victorian workhouses had less rules.”

The school confirmed pupils had to wear the signs if their uniform fell below the standard expected. It said this meant pupils were not constantly tackled by teachers because it made clear they had been spotted and had been told to address the problem.

In a statement on the wider policy it said: “We have a responsibility to ensure that all Merchants’ Academy students are able to make maximum progress in their learning. Low-level disruption in class is known to negatively affect the progress and attainment of students.

“As a result, Merchants’ Academy introduced a new positive behaviour policy on 10 July 2017, designed to minimise and remove low-level disruption from lessons, allowing for higher levels of engagement and more progress to be made by all students.

“Parents and staff were then introduced to this policy through a range of communication methods which has included a number of assemblies, letters home, text messages, information on the website and a range of parent events and drop-in sessions.

“Since the new policy was implemented, staff and students are reporting much higher levels of engagement in class, with many students making more progress as a result of significantly lower levels of disruption. The number of students who have been isolated or excluded as a result of poor behaviour is much lower than predicted.”

The section on uniform policy on the school website says: “Merchants’ Academy believes that high standards of dress are important to all students and staff as it helps to lay the foundations that are needed for life in the 21st century. Smart dress instills confidence and pride, together with demonstrating respect for the values that we uphold and therefore prepares students for life in the workplace.

“The academy has a strict uniform policy which ensures that students are fully focused on learning as opposed to fashion or trends.”

On shoes it says they should be “black, plain, polishable”. Its hair/headwear rules includes: “No decorative attachments are to be worn in the hair. Slides and clips should be minimal and not fashion items.”

Leave a Reply