Girls ordered to take off tight trousers and put on baggier uniform at South Shields school

South Shields Community School pupil Ellisha Oliver was sent home for wearing the wrong trousers. Pictured are the trousers the school bought. Friend Chantelle Kenrick was also sent home
South Shields Community School pupil Ellisha Oliver was sent home for wearing the wrong trousers. Pictured are the trousers the school bought. Friend Chantelle Kenrick was also sent home

A school in South Tyneside has sparked outrage by asking pupils to take off their trousers because they weren’t wide enough.

Ellisha Oliver was one of a number of girls at South Shields Community School who were told to change their trousers at the start of the new term because they broke the school’s uniform policy.

Allie Denholm

Allie Denholm

The 14-year–old was left upset after she claims staff said her new black trousers from New Look weren’t wide enough – they need to have a 14cm flare – and she was handed a pair from Asda, which the school had bought, and sent into a cupboard to change.

Meanwhile fellow pupils at the school, in Nevinson Avenue, were also given clothing and told to change behind whiteboards and in the school’s toilets.

Those who refused had their parents called to the school to collect them or were placed into isolation.

Today, new headteacher Allie Denholm said she stands by her “tightening up” of the school’s uniform wearing policy.

I don’t see what difference a pleat should make to their education. They ended up missing lessons because of this – if I were to keep them off without a valid reason, I’d be getting a £120 fine for truancy.

An annoyed mum from Biddick Hall

• Click here to read why Ms Denholm thinks uniforms are important and to see the school’s uniform guide.

She says all pupils were treated in a dignified manner and were told to get changed in private areas if their uniforms weren’t up to scratch.

Ms Denholm said: “We gave the children a choice to either go and change their clothes in a private place or we would contact their parents to come and collect them. All students were treated with respect and dignity. There have been no changes to the uniform policy. We are just tightening it up.” Ellisha’s mother, Stacy Oliver, had to collect her daughter after the trousers given to her by the school were too big for the youngster, who is just 4ft 11ins tall

The 36-year-old from Biddick Hall, South Shields, said: “I’ve never known anything like it.

South Shields Community School pupil Ellisha Oliver was sent home for wearing the wrong trousers. Mother Stacey Oliver and friend Chantelle Kenrick.

South Shields Community School pupil Ellisha Oliver was sent home for wearing the wrong trousers. Mother Stacey Oliver and friend Chantelle Kenrick.

“I sent her to school wearing a perfectly fine pair of trousers, but she has been told to take them off and wear these other ones which are trailing the ground, because they’re so big and she’s tiny.

“She’s ended up missing a day of school because of this.

“As for the young girls who have just started, they were beside themselves. What a horrible first day for them, being forced to get changed. It’s embarrassing. Do they want the kids to look silly?”

Mrs Oliver said she took a pair of stretchy trousers with her when she went to collect her daughter – to prove that the pair she was wearing were indeed proper dress trousers. She has agreed to trim down the Asda trousers, but says she can’t make her daughter wear them.

South Shields Community School pupil Ellisha Oliver was sent home for wearing the wrong trousers. Pictured are the trousers the school bought. With friend Chantelle Kenrick (left).

South Shields Community School pupil Ellisha Oliver was sent home for wearing the wrong trousers. Pictured are the trousers the school bought. With friend Chantelle Kenrick (left).

Mrs Oliver, who is married to Alan, said: “I will take them up so they fit her but I can’t force her to wear something she doesn’t feel comfortable with.

“I took the other pair along with me to prove that the ones she was wearing weren’t stretchy and tight.”

Another mother, who has two daughters at the school, was also furious after her girls’ skirts weren’t suitable due to them not having pleats.

One daughter was given a new skirt to wear, and had to get changed behind a whiteboard, while the other was given a pair of trousers and was told to change in the toilets.

The mum, from Biddick Hall, said: “The girls had to hand over their iPhone and coat to make sure they would return the clothing.

“I don’t see what difference a pleat should make to their education. They ended up missing lessons because of this – if I were to keep them off without a valid reason, I’d be getting a £120 fine for truancy.  

“But it’s fine for the school to mess about like this for pleats. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”