Marshland High School in West Walton announces decision over new school uniform
A Fenland school is set to implement new school uniforms from this autumn despite protests by parents concerned over cost and the 'hideous' design.
The Citizen exclusively revealed Marshland High School's plans to introduce a new uniform in a bid to wipe out inconsistency particularly with trousers and skirts in October last year.
But the move at the West Walton school caused an uproar from parents who were less than happy, with one Facebook post from an angry mum gathering more than 250 comments - nearly all negative.
One mum, who did not want to be named, contacted the Citizen amid concerns the parents views would simply be “ignored” by the school, which published three variations on the proposed uniform and asking for people to choose their preferred option.
Her comments mirrored those from other parents who labelled the choices as ridiculous and said they were "hideous".
As a result of the furore the school launched a series of consultation events and now Craig Jansen, headteacher, and Steve Cozens, chairman of governors, have written to parents informing of the school's decision to change the uniform.
The letter explains: "Our decision to change the uniform was driven from our desire to further strengthen our school ethos, values and expectations, which includes good school behaviour.
"We want to strengthen our students' sense of belonging to their school and also their pride of being part of our school community as well as improving equality and eliminating inconsistencies.
"We also want to eliminate the need to challenge students over inappropriate uniform items, reduce conflict and promote positive relationships, allowing students and teachers to concentrate on teaching and learning."
The letter goes on to say that one of the key concerns raised by the consultation was affordability and the letter says: "We are committed to ensuring that the cost of uniform must not be used to socially exclude any parent from wishing to send their child to our school.
"We will supply every child with one free jacket and one free pair of trousers or one skirt for Years 7, 8 and 9 irrespective of parental income. "The Learning Support Fund is also available for eligible families. This can provide a further 76 per cent subsidy for the purchase of uniform.
"We are now in a position to confirm there will be a phased introduction of a new school uniform for our new Year 7 intake and for Years 8 and 9 from the start of the next academic year in September 2020.
"Years 10 and 11 will not see any change to their existing uniform but if Year 10 and 11 children would like to wear the new uniform, it will be available to buy.
"Based on the feedback received, the uniform will differ slightly from the images previously shared during our consultation. New images will be posted onto our website once manufacturing is finalised. Items will also be on display in reception during the summer term.
"Our current uniform providers, Price and Buckland, will supply the new uniform, and there will be sizing events ahead of the new uniform released in the summer term.
"These dates are yet to be confirmed but we will inform parents as soon as we have this information. These sizing events will be open to students and their parents to ensure the correct size and fit for every student.
"Following these events, parents will be able to purchase directly from Price and Buckland's website.
"We would like to thank everyone who took the time to provide constructive feedback. These valuable conversations with Governors, parents, carers, students and staff helped to inform and guide our decision.
"We are confident that our new uniform will help deliver our aims and continue our work to raise standards at Marshland High School."
The new uniform will consist of a dark grey jacket with the school's royal blue heron for both boys and girls. It will cost £32.50. Boys will wear dark grey trousers also with the school's emblem at a cost of £15.50. Girls have the choice of the trousers at the same cost or a grey granite tartan knife pleat skirt with the emblem costing £21. There will be a new school tie expected to cost around £8.
Both sexes will have to wear flat black plain leather-type shoes. White shirts and blouses can be bought off the high street, while students will also have the option of a fine grey sweater with royal blue piping round the collar at a cost £13.95.
More by this authorSarah Cliss