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Gorleston pupil placed in seclusion for wearing the ‘wrong’ shoes

PUBLISHED: 12:39 11 September 2015 | UPDATED: 13:05 11 September 2015

Shakira Silom who was put into seclusion at Ormiston Venture academy in Gorleston after being told that her new black school shoes which have brown/black under soles were not suitable shoes unless she painted the under soles.

Picture: James Bass

Shakira Silom who was put into seclusion at Ormiston Venture academy in Gorleston after being told that her new black school shoes which have brown/black under soles were not suitable shoes unless she painted the under soles. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2015

A 12-year-old schoolgirl has been told she cannot join classmates in lessons until she paints the soles of her shoes black.

Shakira Silom has been placed in seclusion over the “banned” brown soles while her parents pledge to stand firm over the “ridiculous” rule.

Parents Jason and Gillian Silom say the colour of the undersoles does not affect her learning and that separating her from her friends is making matters worse.

But Simon Gilbert-Barnham, principal at Ormiston Venture Academy, said upholding an unrelenting focus on standards helped students to achieve and realise their full potential.

Shakira, of Horsley Drive, Gorleston, returned to school after the summer holidays on Thursday last week in her new pair of shoes and was pulled to one side when staff checked uniforms.

Year eight pupil Shakira said she was asked to paint the brown undersole of her shoes black so they met the school dress code. On Monday, when she returned to classes wearing the same shoes, she was placed into seclusion.

Mr Silom said: “Shakira sent me a text on Monday morning telling me the school had put her into seclusion and the school have since told us she will remain in there until her shoes are changed.

“I have to say I think this is a joke. Surely there are more important 
things for the school to worry about than the colour of the shoes pupils wear?”

The New Look shoes, which cost £25, are black on top but the undersoles are finished in a light-brown shade and the situation has angered Mrs Silom who said she had made sure before buying them that they would be suitable.

She said: “I think it is ridiculous.

“We made sure we followed the school’s uniform guidelines, which mentioned nothing about the colour of the undersoles. At the end of the day how does the colour of your shoes affect how you learn in school?”

In a statement, Mr Gilbert-Barnham, said: “At Venture, I unapologetically maintain the highest of standards for our students. A small number of students who returned with the incorrect uniform were given two days to resolve the situation and have been offered appropriate footwear in the interim from the academy to enable them to access their learning.

“We have maintained these high standards since we opened in 2010 and it was highlighted in our ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted report that ‘students wear their uniforms with pride’.

“We ensure the highest of standards to enable us to focus on the conversation of learning and the students education. It is this unrelenting focus that enables our students to achieve so highly and realise their full potential.”
However Shakira’s parents are concerned about the affect seclusion is having on their daughter.

Mrs Silom said: “Shakira is frustrated and upset about the whole situation. Being in seclusion is also having an affect on her education as the school are not giving her work to do whilst she is in there.”

Mr Gilbert-Barnham’s statement said work was given out to those in seclusion.
“We work hard to ensure the daily learning of all students in the classroom is engaging and exciting. It is unfortunate that in this instance the refusal to work together and accept the offered interim solution has led to the student being set the work away from the classroom.”

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