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Staff confiscate children’s coats because they are not a £25 school issue

Children have their coats confiscated despite the cold because a school wants them to buy branded uniforms.

Parents say the full uniform would cost £100 per child, but Bishop Heber School in Malpas says only uniform coats are allowed on site and other items are confiscated.

A mother has said her asthmatic son was placed in solitary confinement for collecting his confiscated coat because he was cold, CheshireLive reports.

Parents have complained about the cost and quality of the branded coat, which can be had for £25.

One parent said the school anorak was not enough to keep her children warm.

She said: “They should literally have a branded polo shirt, a branded jumper, a branded fleece and a branded anorak to be warm and dry outside.”

These four items cost £94.50.

Another parent said, “They confiscated his [my son’s] coat yesterday – outside – which I found absolutely ridiculous. He suffers from asthma, for which he constantly takes medication, so being cold is of no use to him.

“Because he went to get his coat because he was cold, he was put in solitary confinement, that was his punishment.

“Why would you take a coat off a child when you know he has asthma? »

She continued: ‘Kids shouldn’t worry about getting in trouble keeping warm.

“It’s just nonsense. When they walk into a warm classroom it’s totally different, but when you walk into a classroom with the doors and windows open you get cold quickly when you’re seated.

“At some point, common sense has to prevail. These kids shouldn’t be cold.

Another mum said: ‘It was freezing, freezing cold all day, and his hands were so cold he couldn’t hold his pen in English. When he came out of school, he was completely frozen.

“These kids are freezing outside and then they walk into a classroom with the windows all open – they need to be warm. If we’re going to have that rule, if that’s what the principal wants, then if he please can he give up his padded coat and can the teachers set an example by all standing outside without their coats? Because I think that would be a good example for the kids.”

She added: “These kids have a right to be warm.”

In an email to parents of Grade 9 students, principal David Curry said he was “aware that there has been a rhetoric on social media about coats and why students can’t wear theirs to school.

The email reads: “I would like to take this opportunity to state that students are allowed to wear coats to and from school as some have long journeys and have to wait for parents and/or morning/afternoon buses.However, once if they arrive at school after the registration period, we would expect an undergarment (e.g. vest/t -shirt/base layer) as well as a school polo shirt, a sweater, a fleece and an optional jacket (windbreaker) are sufficient to keep them warm and conversely allow them to remove layers when they are in warmer classrooms.

“Essentially, the four/five layers of clothing we suggest should be more than enough to have them stepping outside on break for some fresh air and to withstand almost any weather.

“We are lucky at Heber that the students almost always understand this and so generally it works very well.

“If we allowed non-uniform coats, we strongly believe it would erode the great relationships we have with students day-to-day, as inevitably students would push the envelope and wear hoodies and other coats (including including styles and colors) that undermine the high standards we have.

“More importantly, I also think it would become a status issue for us and perhaps make some students vulnerable. £1000) and wearing/owning the ‘right’ coat could become the pattern rather than its thermal properties which I think could undermine what we stand for as a comprehensive school and put pressure on students at the school and families to conform to a set of norms/expectations that are not healthy, marginalizing some students and jeopardizing that sense of belonging that we work so hard to achieve at Heber.

“I hope our reasoning makes sense and that our drive to ensure that every child can be the best they can be is at the heart of the decision.”

An Act of Parliament to reduce the costs of school uniforms was passed this year and is expected to come into force from September.

The bill was introduced by Cheshire MP Mike Amesbury.

He said: “The reason I took up this cause was that too many children, families and carers were facing the pressure of increased and prohibitive costs for school uniforms across the country, especially around branded clothes.

“The school should [be] on a child’s ability to not his family’s ability to pay.

“The provisions of the law come into force next September and every school, including this one, must prepare for and respond to the new law.

“What is reported by the parents is clearly against the spirit of the law. To hear about coats being confiscated in the dead of winter because they are deemed not to comply with uniform policy is just ridiculous.

“I agree with the school uniform principle, but I would encourage Bishop Heber to take a step ahead by adopting a more sensible approach in his policy, placing more emphasis on affordability and less emphasizing that each item must incorporate the school’s brand image.”

The school’s “Behavior and Discipline Policy,” last revised December 7, 2020, states that: “Students may wear any coat to and from school. However, these must be removed once the school day begins (9 a.m.). can be worn throughout the school day (until 3:30 p.m.).

“During the school day, no other tops, jackets or sweaters are permitted and students will be asked to remove them. Students who repeatedly wear non-uniform coats will have them confiscated and returned at the end of the school day. school day/week.”

Another mum said: “Some of the school policies are absolutely archaic. Many parents have asked why their children have been placed in isolation, and they haven’t really received a response from the school.

“Rain, rain or snow, if it’s really cold in the Baltic, they’re not allowed to wear their jackets. The teachers will come up to them in the yard and tell them to take off their coat.

“They preach what an amazing school they are, but they don’t treat the students with respect.”

A fourth parent added that they felt Bishop Heber was ‘more akin to a Victorian hospice than a school’.