Parents accuse Ringmer school of 'overreacting' in uniform dispute

Acting principal Rob Gibson
Acting principal Rob Gibson

The acting principal of Ringmer Community College has defended uniform policy after parents slammed the school for 'overreacting'.

His comments follow concerns expressed by some parents that children were put into an ‘isolation group’ for not wearing the approved clothes. Several families rang the Sussex Express to describe what they termed an over-reaction to the issue.

Chris Geer from Kingston was one of those whose daughter, Hannah was sent to the group. He said: “I was shocked that this could happen. I was told my daughter had to go into what they called ‘isolation’ because she was not wearing the right uniform skirt.’

But acting principal Rob Gibson said: “Ringmer Community College is under new leadership. In common with all schools, we want to raise standards and maintain a focused and purposeful environment in which students really can concentrate on their learning and achieve excellent progress.

“We contacted parents and carers about our expectations concerning uniform during the summer break. We have worked hard to ensure these expectations are being enforced fairly and consistently across the College. The large majority of parents or carers who have contacted me have been very supportive of our efforts to raise standards and take the school forward.”

Chris Geer explained: “I live apart from my ex-wife so I do not receive information from the school. Apparently the uniform was changed during the summer holidays and the new skirt that girls must wear now costs about £14 and can only be obtained from the school shop.

"My daughter wore her old skirt on Tuesday, the first day back. Apparently there were many other children who also turned up not wearing the correct uniform and all of them were told they must go into separate rooms, away from their peers. My daughter was very upset. I was shocked that the College is taking this attitude.”

However Mr Gibson insisted that, in common with many schools, it is important that children wear the correct uniform so there is no distraction. “We indicated we planned to change the skirt about 16 months ago so families could be prepared. One or two were inconvenienced, but most parents who have contacted me are very happy that we are insisting on high standards.”

The issue reflected news stories reported earlier in the week where Kent head turned away pupils for wearing the wrong uniform and said adherence to the uniform code would lead to better behaviour and improved grades.

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