UPDATED: Parents are continuing to arrive at Ryde Academy this morning (Wednesday) to remove their children from the school following a crackdown on uniform, with many describing the situation as ‘like being in a prison’.
As reported yesterday, over 150 children were placed into isolation with many more sent home following an announced crackdown on the school’s uniform policy. Boys and girls from all year groups have been inspected by teachers and either sent home to change or placed into isolation conditions, which has angered parents and caused upset for pupils.
The school is requesting that anyone who has been highlighted as wearing ‘incorrect’ uniform comes to school with new skirts, trousers and shoes that meets the uniform policy, however those parents who have attempted to purchase new clothing have said that the accepted skirt length isn’t in stock at the school’s suppliers. Other stores such as Tesco are simply not stocking school clothing at this time of the year – less than 6 weeks before the Summer holidays.
Many parents simply refuse to purchase any new clothing so close to the end of the school year.
Island Echo has received several reports that students were only allowed a ten minute lunch break whilst in isolation yesterday, which keeps them away from their peers and removes them from a normal school day and thus away from their curriculum or GCSE work.
This morning, parents have refused to allow their children to suffer the same fate as yesterday and have taken time out of work to collect their child from the Pell Lane school. Confusingly, students who were not placed in isolation yesterday have today found themselves being penalised despite the uniform being acceptable on Tuesday.
Police officers have been present at the school.
Speaking to parents outside Ryde Academy this morning, Island Echo has learnt that some Clarke’s school shoes – an expensive brand – are not acceptable, whilst a number of other leather shoes are not being accepted, despite the school’s policy saying shoes must be ‘leather’. One parent spoke about how their child had to scale a fence to escape the school ground yesterday after feeling they couldn’t cope in isolation conditions.
Shockingly, another parent said that their daughter’s ‘red card’ – a system to identify to the teacher that the pupil is to be excused from lesson – was simply ignored despite the girl having a medical condition.
The Academy’s headteacher, Dr Rory Fox, has hit the headlines previously for a similar approach to schooling, as reported by the Daily Mail.
The school has not commented any further on the matter. The situation continues.
UPDATE @ 11:45 – Students from inside Ryde Academy are contacting Island Echo this morning saying that those in isolation have been made to sit in silence, facing the wall with their arms parallel to the desk. One girl is said to have had a panic attack outside of the hall.
Headteacher Dr Rory Fox is on site and is said to be ‘shouting’ at pupils in isolation.
According to one mum, her child has called her from the toilets in hysterics and crying and has now been collected from the Academy.
UPDATE @ 12:55 – Academies Enterprise Trust who operate Ryde Academy have this afternoon issued a statement to Island Echo.
A spokesperson said:
“The issue of discipline and uniform in our schools is the responsibility of the individual school’s management team and we will support them on the appropriate action it considers necessary to maintain and improve these standards.”
No comment has been made about a resolve to the situation.
UPDATE @ 16:20 – Peer pressure is being blamed as the reason why a crackdown on uniform has been imposed by the school, according to a letter issued to parents this afternoon.
In the letter Dr Fox has said:
“We would normally deal with uniform issues at the beginning of September. However we have a number of female students who have recently said that they are coming under peer pressure to wear their skirts shorter than they feel comfortable. It is not fair that girls should be made to feel uncomfortable when they are just following the uniform policy. We have therefore decided to act at this point in time, to correct uniform issues.
“Although we are fast approaching the end of the current academic year, we are only about 10 weeks away from the start of the next academic year in September. So any clothing purchased to correct uniform issues at this point in time, should still be appropriate in September”.
Dr Fox went on to comment on parents removing students from the Academy.
“When parents have removed their children in order to resolve uniform matters, we are using our discretion to not seek a penalty fine”.
It has been said that anyone not complying with the uniform policy will be isolated from the mainstream academy and will be taken to the hall where they will be treated as if it was exam conditions, with break and lunchtimes in line with exams.