A mum is furious after her son was banned from wearing his new £48 Clarks school shoes – because they look too much like trainers.
Nicola Ingerfield diligently forked out £400 this summer on new school uniforms for her two children, including the Harlem Spin shoes for 12-year-old Alfie.
But the footwear fell foul of a strict new uniform policy at Mangotsfield School in Bristol, which has just converted into an academy.
Teachers have given Alfie one week to buy a new pair – which Nicola, 43, says she cannot afford.
“I can’t believe they said they look more like trainers,” she said. “The shoes are made from leather and look very smart.
“Clarks advertise them as school shoes and everyone I’ve spoken to agrees they don’t look like trainers.
“He has always been a model pupil – he has never got into trouble in his life.”
The Clarks Harlem Spin black leather shoes are part of Clarks’ school range and are described on its website as having “a casual look that’s perfect for school and the playground”.
Nicole claims the deputy head told Alfi he would be forced to wear borrowed shoes if he returns in the Clarks ones next week.
“I’m looking into whether I can transfer him. I’m so angry about the way they are treating him.”
Headteacher David Spencer said the school had worked hard to ensure parents were fully aware of the new ‘high standards’.
He said: “Parents received a copy of our very detailed uniform brochure in May, so that everyone would be really clear about expectations.
“We have been in touch since then with further reminders, with a letter to every household and by text.
“Many parents got in touch before the summer to check the suitability of footwear and we were happy to advise them. It can be difficult, as some shops advertise some items as school-issue.
“That is why we have been so prescriptive with this and, ultimately, we want to make it easier for parents who can feel pressurised into buying very expensive branded items.
“We have also provided financial support to any parents who have requested it.
“Of course, we’d look to reimburse if shops won’t take back shoes bought in good faith.
“Insisting on high standards of dress, we feel, sets students up in the best possible way for life after school and is part of raising expectations even further.”
Other parents have taken to the Clarks website to say the same style has been rejected by other schools.
A mum called Megan from Oldham wrote: “Our school has rejected these shoes as being too much like a trainer. Subjective but there you go.”