‘Picking for picking’s sake’: Mother hits out at school after daughter’s trousers deemed ‘too tight’

Francesca Negus, 14, of Shipdham, wearing her school trousers branded 'too tight' by Dereham Neather

Francesca Negus, 14, of Shipdham, wearing her school trousers branded 'too tight' by Dereham Neatherd High School. With her is her mum, Theresa Lee, holding the alternative elasticated trousers provided by the school. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

A frustrated mother has hit out at her daughter's school for 'humiliating and degrading' pupils over uniform breaches.

Francesca Negus, 14, of Shipdham, wearing her school trousers branded 'too tight' by Dereham Neather

Francesca Negus, 14, of Shipdham, wearing her school trousers branded 'too tight' by Dereham Neatherd High School. With her is her mum, Theresa Lee, holding the alternative elasticated trousers provided by the school. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

Theresa Lee's daughter Francesca Negus, 14, was told to choose between isolation and a replacement pair of trousers from the school office after hers were deemed to be "too tight" by staff last Thursday.

But Ms Lee, from Shipdham, disputes the claim that her daughter was wearing inappropriate trousers and said the replacement pair offered by Dereham Neatherd High School were not tailored - in contravention of its own uniform policy.

She also raised concerns about the impact of such penalisation on students' mental health and body image.

The school said it had communicated recently with parents about uniform policy so they could "buy with confidence" and that isolation was used as a last resort for breaches.

Francesca Negus, 14, of Shipdham, wearing her school trousers branded 'too tight' by Dereham Neather

Francesca Negus, 14, of Shipdham, wearing her school trousers branded 'too tight' by Dereham Neatherd High School. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019


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Ms Lee, 51, said: "It is such a pathetic thing to have a go at a school child for. Why chastise them for something so minimal and meaningless?

"I had a problem with [my daughter's] school skirt last year, because like many girls she is slim with long legs. What the length of a skirt has to do with her ability to learn I have no idea.

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"The way the teachers are dealing with it is degrading and humiliating and it is making the girls more body-conscious.

"I think they are doing the children harm mentally. It is no wonder some of them don't want to go to school."

Francesca Negus, 14, of Shipdham, wearing her school trousers branded 'too tight' by Dereham Neather

Francesca Negus, 14, of Shipdham, wearing her school trousers branded 'too tight' by Dereham Neatherd High School, with her mum, Theresa Lee. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

She added: "I agree with school uniform, but I think they are just picking for picking's sake to lord power over the kids. If they are going to be so picky maybe the school should start providing it because children are being punished for the way that their parents have interpreted the uniform policy - they have not gone out and bought it themselves."

Chris Smith, headteacher at Dereham Neatherd High School, said: "In support of parents, school uniform removes the daily question of what to wear to school and allows children to focus on their education. Some children are actually disadvantaged when a school does not have a uniform as they may not be able to financially keep up with the latest trends and fashions that are found on the high street. For this reason, uniform can increase the self-esteem and confidence of pupils by removing uncertainty from their day and showing that they proud of the school which they attend.

"To further support parents we have communicated with families before the summer, and again on Friday of last week, with regards to uniform expectations so that parents can purchase uniform with the confidence that it is correct. Sometimes a child can get it wrong but to further the education of children, we ensure the child has the opportunity to swap the piece(s) of clothing that do not conform with the policy or for a parent to quickly resolve the issue by bringing the correct uniform. It is the last resort that a child would then continue their studies away from their normal teaching group."

It comes as a mother from Norwich revealed her 11-year-old daughter had been pulled up by Hewett Academy for having trousers in the "wrong colour" on her first day at the school.

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