Pimlico Academy parent explains protests over 'racist' school uniform

1 April 2021, 10:14

By Sam Sholli

A parent at Pimlico Academy has given LBC the perspective of students, who have walked out of school over the "racist" uniform policy.

Amber, whose daughter is in Year 13 and attends the school, made the remark after pupil protests over the "racist" uniform policy and the flying of the union jack.

The protests prompted the academy's headteacher to agree to concessions, after the pupils chanted "we want change" against rules they said discriminated against Muslim and black students and changes to the curriculum.

Head Daniel Smith introduced a new uniform policy last year which said hairstyles should not "block the view of others" and that hijabs "should not be too colourful".

Amber told Nick about complaints over sexism when it comes to the uniform and also about how the school calling for "no big hair" was "quite upsetting" to pupils.

While not explicitly mentioning Afro-Caribbean hair, pupils interpreted this as such.

Amber later said: "I don't know about you but when I was a teenager, which is quite a few years back now, I do remember feeling quite uncomfortable about my body [and] body image [and] that sort of thing.

"And I think when you go to school as a teenager, this is a place you have to go to. It's law. And you're with your peers and it's meant to be a place of safety

"I mean Pimlico Academy does offer that. It's an amazing vibrant school. Well, it has been. But over the last six months there are lots of things that have made my child especially not very comfortable."

In a statement, the head said: "The right to protest is a civil liberty which, in the United Kingdom, we all enjoy, one that was hard fought-for and which not everyone in the world is fortunate to have.

"Our students are bright, courageous, intelligent young people, passionate about the things that matter to them and acutely attuned to injustice. I admire them hugely for this though I regret that it came to this.

"The issue of the flying of the union flag was discussed at length. We acknowledge that this symbol is a powerful one which evokes often intense reactions. We have listened to the concerns of students, parents and the wider community about it.

"After Easter, we will conduct a review of this and, as part of that, consult with all the academy's stakeholders to elicit their feedback. In the meantime, and until that review is concluded, the union flag will not be flown at the academy."

READ MORE: Pimlico Academy: Teachers pass vote of no confidence in principal amid diversity protests