Mother 'disgusted' after daughter put into isolation because she wore cheaper supermarket skirt identical to school uniform

15 September 2023, 10:54

Parents hit out at Holderness Academy over its uniform policy
Parents hit out at Holderness Academy over its uniform policy. Picture: Screengrab/Google Maps

By Will Taylor

A mother has said he is "disgusted" after her 14-year-old daughter was put in isolation for going to school in a supermarket uniform instead of the official supplier.

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Toni-Leigh Richards was lined up at Holderness Academy, near Hull, and had her waistband inspected.

They found she was wearing an outfit that was bought at a supermarket for £8, despite it looking almost the same as the official one that costs up to £21.99.

She was mocked by other pupils who said she was unable to afford the school's kit.

Becky Richards, her mother, has now spoken of her anger at the school after Toni-Leigh was placed in isolation.

"There are some people who just can't afford it," she said.

"There's no difference other than the tag in the waistband."

Toni-Leigh told the BBC: "We had to lift our top so the waistband was visible.

Read more: School put child in isolation for wearing uniform from supermarket and not from the official supplier

"It was horrible because the other people started making fun of me saying I could not afford one."

Holderness Acadamy defended its policy, saying its uniform is designed to "foster equality and encourage a sense of pride".

But parents are furious at the school, which tells its pupils to buy from the retailer Rawcliffes.

School uniform policy is especially in focus given the cost of living crisis.

The retailer's website shows that for Holderness' uniform, families will need to fork out up to £34 for a girl's blazer, £21.99 for girls' trousers - or the same for a pleated skirt - up to £21 for a twin pack of the girls' white blouse, £5.99 for a two pack of tights and £5.50 for the school tie.

That leaves families paying just shy of £90 simply to own the bare minimum for the uniform - without replacements if anything was to happen to the trousers or jacket.

For comparison, Asda George sells a pack of two pleated skirts for £14, five long sleeve white girls’ shirts for £11 and a pack of five tights for £6.50.

One parent, whose daughter attends the school, told HullLive: "I had to replace shoes because they had a gold trim. My daughter was subjected to a 50-minute line up on the playground with all the other Year 7s in blazing sun on Tuesday while the assistant head and other teachers went up and down the lines inspecting them.

A skirt for the school costs up to £21.99
A skirt for the school costs up to £21.99. Picture: Screengrab

"There's children having buckles cut off their shoes by teachers, put in isolation for wearing a belt and being told they can't wear a skirt bought from Asda despite it being identical to the one from Rawcliffes school shop."

Read more: 'Absolutely outrageous. Boycott these venues': Angry backlash after Stonegate pubs announce ‘dynamic pricing’

Holderness Academy defended its policy
Holderness Academy defended its policy. Picture: Google Maps

A spokeswoman for the Consortium Academy Trust, which runs Holderness, said: "The start of the academic year is a key period in which standards and expectations are set.

"We work respectfully with our learners to support good habits and adherence to key policies; this is in the best interest of all members of the school community.

"Our schools’ uniform expectations foster equality and encourage a sense of pride and belonging in the community.

"We are working through a small number of concerns that have been raised by parents and will continue to work with them to overcome any barriers."

Read more: Supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s Waitrose and Co-op 'will pay police to scan shoplifters' faces' in crackdown

The school's uniform policy on its website says parents can get in touch with the school if they have difficulties getting the clothes.

It states: "We appreciate that uniform is an expensive financial investment, and we work hard to ensure our uniform is affordable and of the highest quality. This is done through a rigorous tendering process which is conducted periodically."

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