71 students put in isolation for wearing the wrong uniform on school's first day of term

This post first appeared on Nottingham Post. Read the original article.

More than 70 pupils were put in isolation at a Nottingham school on the first day of term for wearing the wrong uniform or having dyed hair.

Bluecoat Beechdale Academy in Bilborough has adopted a strict policy where children who do not meet high standards are excluded from the classroom.

Baffled parents told the Post how they were contacted by the school yesterday, Wednesday, warning them their children were in isolation for offences including dyed hair or wearing the wrong trousers or shoes.

The school has defended its policy, saying it is preparing the pupils for the world of work.

Tracy Clarke, 47, of Broxtowe Estate, whose 14-year-old daughter Phoebe Jackson was put in isolation because of her dyed red hair, said the school even took away her daughter’s shoes as they did not look like leather, loaning her a new pair instead.

She said: "I was given a phone call because her school was not happy about her stretched material trousers or her shoes. They're not not outlandish.

"They also complained about the colour of her hair, which has not changed for three or four years but has never been a problem before.

"She was put in a room and given a booklet to work through. She is not attending classes until the problem is resolved.

"It’s not like she’s a problem pupil, she doesn't turn up in non-uniform every day. Year 10 is an important year and yet they are handing out isolation for the most trivial of things".

Phoebe Jackson was given isolation for her red hair

A letter from the school informed her that her daughter would be in isolation until the hair ‘issue’ was resolved.

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Another mum, Kimberley Phillips, of Meadowvale Crescent in Clifton, said she got a message from her 14-year-old daughter at 9.10am on Wednesday.

"She said her trousers weren’t acceptable, and she’d been put in isolation," she said. "There was also an issue with her hair and make-up, which I understand.

"But to me trousers are trousers, and it’s not going to affect their education in any way. In any case we had been told trousers had to be black and not skinny, and these were not skinny".

She said her brother had collected her daughter at around 10am and took her to Asda to get a new pair of trousers, before returning to school.

She added that two styles are available from the academy uniform shop, but that these were too expensive at £15 a pair.

Bluecoat Beechdale Academy is sponsored by Bluecoat Academies Trust. It was formerly known as Hadden Park High, becoming Bluecoat Beechdale in 2014.

Bluecoat Beechdale Academy

Carl Elder, principal of the school for three years, told the Post: "We are passionate about raising standards and we keep moving the bar higher and higher. We want the best possible start to the academic year and that includes having high expectations in all aspects of school life".

He said that he didn't want the school to "rest on its laurels" after its good Ofsted rating last year, but the dress code policy was about preparing students for the world of work.

He said: "There will be expectations by their employers that they will have to meet and we are giving them that life skill. The children in this community deserve the best and we are committed to providing that."

He said that 71 students were put in isolation at the beginning of the first day of term, but by lunch yesterday 20 matters had resolved.

He added: "We have a school of 700 students - the vast majority are meeting these high standards".

In a letter from the school yesterday, the uniform expectations were outlined, forbidding jewellery (apart from a watch), hair dye, and nail polish, and stipulating that shoes must be leather-looking and trousers should be tailored.

It added: "Uniform is an extremely important part of the culture of our academy as, not only does it ensure that students look smart and ready to learn, it prepares them for the type of expectations employers will have of them.

"Wearing the BBA uniform with pride also demonstrates our students’ commitment to their school community and their education.

"From September 2017 we will have a zero-tolerance approach to uniform issues. Students who arrive at school failing to meet our uniform expectations will be isolated, until the uniform issue is rectified".