The new uniform policy at Bodmin College has led to some fall-out as pupils returned to school after the summer holidays.
There has been confusion and frustration for certain parents and carers, and a number of children are said to have been sanctioned for infringements of the new uniform code at the school which has joined the CELT multi-academy trust.
The new code sees the replacement of the previous school uniform, which had been in place since 2002, with one involving a black blazer, grey trousers, a new tie, white shirts, black jumpers, plain black polishable footwear and plain black socks or tights.
It also sees a change in supplier from local company Wovina to Keywear in Truro, with items bought from supermarkets also allowed for items such as trousers.
The new policy has been criticised by some parents for being too strict in its requirements. One area of contention is that shoes should have a defined heel and another is over the shade of grey used for the trousers.
Tilly Rose Turner said her brother had been punished on the first day due to not having a “defined heel” meaning that his first day back at school was spent in exclusion.
She said: “There was a letter sent to parents at the end of last term regarding new school shoes and the uniform and then last week they put a post on their Facebook page saying shoes need to have a defined heel.
“My brother’s shoes were still black, and they were appropriate but they didn’t have a defined heel.
“On the first day back. The college put the students all in the quad, inspected them and took a group of them to reset (reset room is the name of the school’s internal exclusion).”
She also described the impact it had on her brother, adding: “My brother was so excited for his first day and he was crushed when he was put in reset because he’s never had detention before. The first day is the most important day of secondary school and he couldn’t see his friends or go to any lessons.
“It felt so unfair and awful, and it caught so many people out. As a teacher myself, I understand the need for rules but to lose a whole day of learning time in their final year of education because of a heel on shoes is just ridiculous and so upsetting. I don’t think the punishment fit the crime.”
In an open letter to the school, local business owner and parent, Mike Munds, called for the school to be less stringent on their strict shoes policy.
He wrote: “I am writing to respectfully request an exception to our school’s uniform policy regarding footwear. The school policy mandates that students wear black shoes that can be polished. I would like to propose that wearing black boots, which also meet the criteria of being black and polishable, should be allowed for the following reasons: comfort and durability, weather considerations, versatility and practicality, adherence to dress code and equality and inclusivity.”
He concluded, after detailing in length the reasons for each argument, “In conclusion, I firmly believe that permitting black boots, in addition to black shoes, is a reasonable and practical adjustment to the school’s uniform policy. This change would benefit the comfort and well-being of the students without compromising the professionalism and appearance that the school values. I kindly request that the school administration consider this proposal for the betterment of our school community.”
The expense of buying new uniforms during the cost-of-living crisis has also come under fire.
As a concession, the school has previously offered to subsidise the cost of the first blazer bought and has said older year groups are permitted to continue wearing items from the old uniform for the school year.
The school website says: “Uniform is an important part of a school’s culture; it helps students feel they belong to a community, it teaches them to take pride in their appearance and it establishes they are coming to a professional environment.”
The college declined to comment further.