A Bristol mum is incensed that her son's new school sent him home half an hour into his first day for not having the right uniform.
Hayley Dainton got a call from staff at Hanham Woods Academy asking her to come and pick up her son Oliver, because teachers had spotted that he wasn't wearing the required uniform.
The 11-year-old was just minutes into his first day at secondary school when staff spotted that his black sweatshirt was not the official school uniform one, with the school's badge on it.
He was also wearing white trainers, rather than the dark-coloured smart shoes required by the school.
Hanham Woods Academy operates a house system and requires pupils to wear the official school sweatshirt, a white shirt and a tie in the colours of the house they are put into.
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Hayley, from Hillfields, said the only outlet to buy these items is a school uniform shop called Initially Yours in Soundwell, but the store has been closed to customers dropping in since March because of coronavirus.
The store is taking online orders only, and has a ten-day delivery backlog.
"Oliver was very smart, and I really tried to get him looking the part. He had a shirt, he had a black sweatshirt and he was able to borrow his big sister's tie as she's not back in til next week," she told Bristol Live.
"It is a real struggle for parents on a budget to be able to afford this expensive school uniform and shoes, and I've been saving up as much as I could all summer. In the end, when I went to buy Oliver's uniform I found there's a ten-day delivery time, and it didn't come in time.
"I think it was the trainers that first caught their eye, but when they saw that he didn't have the sweatshirt with the badge on, they didn't let him go up to class, and then took him to a store to put on someone else's stuff – he objected to this, and I understand why given the coronavirus, and they called me.
"It was about 15 minutes or more after I'd dropped him off. I thought they were phoning to let me know he'd settled in ok, but no they were telling me to pick him up there and then.
"I am disgusted with the school's expectations," said the mum-of-five. "Most schools have relaxed their uniform policy until next term, as they understand the struggles parents have had with uniform orders because of the pandemic.
"My son has not got off to a good start at all, and it's all down to being picked on about uniform," she added. "He hasn't even seen inside his classroom."
"You would have thought they would have given him and me a little bit of time to get sorted, I have four children at school, and this is a huge expense," she added.
Hanham Woods Academy's principal Steve Kneller said the school supported parents who asked for help with school uniform.
"In its most recent guidance the Government has been clear about encouraging all schools to return to their usual uniform policies in the autumn term," he said.
"At Hanham Woods Academy we pride ourselves on having high expectations, including smart appearance, and were delighted at how well our new Year 7 students arrived at the academy [on Wednesday] and our Year 11 students today.
"During our inspection last year, which resulted in a 'Good' judgement from Ofsted, the Lead Inspector commented on how smartly the students wear the uniform, and how the uniform plays a valuable role in contributing to the positive tone and ethos of the school.
"Where families ask us for support with uniform, we do of course ensure that we offer support, including providing uniform for those most who need it.
"We look forward to welcoming all of our remaining students back to school next week – we are genuinely excited to see them," he added.
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