Parents have been left furious and bemused after a number of pupils were sent home from a Derby school because of their school uniform.

Pupils at Merrill Academy, in Alvaston, wearing incorrect clothing were refused entry into school by teachers, and ordered to return once "appropriately dressed".

The change of attire was enforced this month, with a newsletter detailing the updates to uniform having been sent out in late December.

The school had also sent out text messages as a further reminder about the policy to parents on the morning of pupils' return to school following the Christmas break.

Some of the new uniform rules include "sensible leather-look shoes in black only" and "plain black tailored trousers or knee-length skirt".



Two parents who had their daughters turned away by the school were left outraged and dumbfounded by the school's crackdown.

Louise Rostron, 32, from Alvaston, was left bemused when her daughter, Tyra, 13, wasn't allowed entry to the school on January 7 because her boots didn't comply with the new rules.

Louise, who feels the school weren't clear about uniform updates, received a letter later that morning which clarified her daughter was refused from attending her classes and instructed to return with new uniform.

She said: "It's ignorant. If they want a uniform change they should have given it time, they can't just spring it upon you in a two-week Christmas break."

Louise claims that "it looked like 40-50% of the school were sent away. It looked like home time when I arrived at the school".

She added: "People were sent home for wearing white socks, the tightness of the skirt, the knee length of the uniform. They're nitpicking at little things.

Another dismayed mother of a pupil sent home was Jenna Barnes, 31, Allenton, who says her daughter, Abbie, was not given admission into school for trousers that "stick to her" and that showed her ankles.

In an impassioned Facebook post Jenna said: "I am furious that the school thinks a style of trouser is more important than my daughter's education when she clearly wants to learn and gain a strong education."

"We were sent a newsletter about uniform updates but I thought no more of it because I thought my daughter's uniform was fine, but the trousers have to be tailored.

More than 10 people posted on the Spotted Alvaston Facebook page to say they also had their child sent home.

Dean Blavins said: "My daughter's trousers 1” too short, had a go on the phone and they said it was policy, I told them their policies are there to impede the children’s education, never known a school like it, parents evening was a nightmare and now this?"

But Mike Thompson said: "It's about time people respected rules, you don't expect to turn up to work not in correct uniform or suitable footwear so why not begin at school and respect the school's policy."

While another commented and added: "Send them in the correct clothes and footwear, all this will be avoided!"

Headteacher of Merrill Academy Ms Jo Harlow defended the school's policy in a statement saying: "Parents and carers were sent regular reminders last term about our uniform expectations. These reminders specifically flagged up items that were not permitted and parents have been given time to address this.

"The academy is also very supportive in providing assistance for those who request it. This was detailed again in our December 2019 Newsletter, which was issued to all students. We all want Merrill Academy to be the best it can possibly be.

"We are like any other school in Derby in having high expectations regarding the uniform and appearance of our students. Our students are ambassadors for Merrill Academy and we expect them to wear our uniform with pride and purpose.

"A strong sense belonging occurs when uniform is worn. Bullying and stereotyping are reduced because the wearing of expensive branded items will not be allowed.

"Wearing a school uniform saves valuable time each morning as students know what they need to wear and it’s also a financial saving throughout the year. Students who care about looking smart for school also care about behaving well, working hard and acquiring knowledge through learning.

"Our students are also currently considering further changes to our uniform for September 2020. Governors and parents have been made aware of the consultation process."

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