Saddleworth School stands firm over shoe policy

A DEFIANT headteacher has defended his decision over a reinforcement of a shoe policy for pupils despite a flurry of complaints from angry parents.

A minority of students returning to Saddleworth School in Uppermill for the new academic year in September were told their footwear did not conform to the rules.p3 sadd school shoes1

The code demands plain black shoes with no markings and shoes must not be trainers, boots, high heels, converse or designer brands.

Pupils wearing incorrect shoes were given a letter withdrawing “social time” if appropriate footwear was not worn the next day, and threatened with internal exclusion if the situation was not corrected.

Matthew Milburn, Saddleworth School headteacher, explained: “At the end of the last academic year we wrote to all parents detailing which shoes were appropriate for school.

“To try and be clear, photos of 12 shoes which are deemed acceptable were sent out and it was made clear if children didn’t comply there would be consequences.

“We also had a series of assemblies on this issue prior to the summer.”

He continued: “Letters have been sent home to those whose shoes weren’t deemed appropriate.

“Detentions have been held and pupils have a deadline of five days to address the issue.

“It is important we have a stringent code and it forms part of our strategy to raise standards which is supported by the overwhelming majority of parents.”p3 sadd school shoes2

But some parents have been left confused and cross after buying shoes they thought to be within the school’s rules.

One Uppermill mother, who wished to remain unnamed, said she didn’t know about the assemblies and didn’t see a letter.

“I was not aware only one of the six boys shoe designs were allowed,” she added.

“I assumed the rhino start rite school range at £55 would be a safe option. Clearly not!

“Perhaps school should have actually wrote the makers and design number of acceptable designs, thereby avoiding any misinterpretation?”

Mr Milburn added: “Two weeks on and the pupils have never looked smarter. No child has been sent home for having inappropriate footwear and no child is any longer having to be internally excluded.

“We’ve been able to address this tricky issue thanks in no small part to the support of parents.”


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