Mums’ anger at shoes rule

Kirk Balk pupil Matthew Swan after he was turned away from school for wearing trainers that weren't completely black in colour
Kirk Balk pupil Matthew Swan after he was turned away from school for wearing trainers that weren't completely black in colour

MORE parents are furious about a South Yorkshire secondary’s decision to turn away pupils for wearing the wrong coloured footwear – with one mum claiming she was told to try a different school if she disagreed with its uniform policy.

Students at Barnsley’s Kirk Balk School have been told they must wear all-black shoes or trainers – with staff giving them marker pens to colour in those failing to make the grade.

At the beginning of the week dozens were sent home for failing to meet uniform requirements.

Mum Melanie Swan whose son Matthew, aged 13, was sent home said she was given no warning about the crackdown.

And today mum Michelle Rees, from Birdwell, said her son Ryan, 14, had fallen foul of the crackdown by wearing black trainers decorated only with silver stitching.

“Apparently a letter was sent out to parents about uniform requirements but we never got it,” she said.

“This week’s events came out of the blue. I’ve talked to staff about it and they seem to think I should pick up a pair of black shoes at Wyndsors World of Shoes for £6 a pair.

“But Ryan needs an extra size shoe, size 10, because he has a bunion. He needs comfy shoes. But I was told if I didn’t like the rule I should try a different school.

“Their brains aren’t in their feet, they’re in their heads – what does it matter what sort of trainers they wear to school. I’m on a monthly budget, I just can’t go and buy new ones. It’s unbelievable.”

Mum Mandy Davies, from Hoyland, said her 13-year-old daughter Hayley had been sent home for wearing black boots with black studs.

“I arrived home by chance to find Hayley sitting on the doorstep because she’d been sent home.

She said: “She had no key and no credit on her phone to call me. What if anything had happened to her? I’m absolutely fuming about this.”

Headteacher Val Malcolm said the school’s uniform code had been in place since last September and was clearly set out in student planners, on the school’s website and in the prospectus.

Parents and students had been informed and reminded of the uniform requirements since then via newsletter, by letter, at daily assemblies and most recently via mobile phone text message.

She said: “It is important that students understand they are representing their school in their uniform and that a uniform helps to prevent competition of brands.

“Some students were attending in highly visible branded trainers that cost over £80 and others were pushing parents to compete.”

She added the school would take individual cases of hardship into account, and further time to comply with the uniform code would be provided to ensure all met the requirements for the next half term.