South Shields parents react to school's tougher new uniform code

Harton Academy head Sir Ken Gibson.
Harton Academy head Sir Ken Gibson.

Parents have far from uniform views over a school's incoming dress code.

Harton Academy, in Lisle Road, Harton, in South Shields, is introducing new rules from September after headteacher Sir Ken Gibson said "standards have fallen in recent years".

All year 7,8 and 9 pupils will be required to wear shirt, tie, navy blazer, smart trousers or skirt with a jumper being optional.

Older children will have the same outfit but with the option of a blazer or jumper while all girls can wear trousers or a choice of two skirts.

While Sir Ken insists 66.5 % of pupils and 91% of staff supported the changes in surveys, critics insist the average £50 cost is too expensive and question why the school has chosen a supplier based in the west of Newcastle.

Kirsty Tremlett wrote on our Facebook page: "So Sir Ken thinks this is reasonably priced?

"Why doesn't he pay for the uniform for the kids? That way all the kids are the same and some parents aren't worrying that they can't afford to send their kids to school in September.

Yanine Hughes wrote: "As for increasing standards . If you can't police the current uniform policy how on earth are you going to police a new one?"

Carl Lister added: "Can't see why the change was needed. Pupils and staff, school outstanding. School is about the knowledge in young minds, not what they wear on their backs."

In defence of the policy, however, Michelle Martin wrote: "It is so much smarter and sets a standard. My little girl is starting in September and I am pleased about the change.

Julie Ellwood also added her support on Facebook, saying: "Kids know the difference between £6 Asda trousers and £36 River Island ones, and kids can be cruel.

Anything that reduces an opportunity for bullying is a great thing in my eyes. Disappointing that the school isn't supporting local Shields businesses though."

Caroline Edwardson concluded: "Right behind you, headteacher.

"Parents who are really interested in their child’s education and want them to succeed in life will appreciate what you are doing."

A Change.org online petition entitled Ensure School Uniform is Affordable for Everyone is asking the school to reconsider its decision. It can be found here.

As of Tuesday lunchtime, it had attracted 210 signatures.