A school was today accused of fuelling weight issues for teenage girls by threatening disciplinary action for ‘too tight’ trousers.
Fuming Claire Burt says her daughter Lauren, 15, has been told she faces ‘sin bin’ isolation with other classmates for breaching a strict new uniform policy.
But Claire says she is wearing the same New Look trousers as last term – and her daughter was now showing worrying concerns about her weight.
Claire, 41, said: “Lauren had the exact same trousers last year. How can trousers affect her education?
“What will affect her education is having lessons with mixed age groups.
“She keeps asking ‘am I getting fat?’ She is only just a healthy weight now and I am concerned this might be a trigger for her.
“She has had enough time off from school [due to illness] as it’s only in the last ten months she has gained enough weight to have the confidence to go to school and be able to walk from one lesson to another.”
Claire says Lauren and a number of other students were taken out of classes at Sir John Hunt Community College in Plymouth, Devon and told her trousers were “too tight”.
They were advised to change the offending items by Monday morning or face further punishment.
That could mean isolation or the ‘sin bin’ – studying in school hours but outside of their usual lessons and mixed with other year groups.
Claire is refusing to buy a new uniform for Lauren and says the school is to blame for not being clearer in their uniform guidelines on their website.
She admitted she didn’t feel she needed to check the website for school uniform policy this year as she purchased the same New Look trousers for Lauren last year.
Claire added: “I am not changing them under any circumstances. It is not about the cost of the £15 trousers but the principle.
“They were fit for school last year, so why not this year? They [the school] are telling us different things.
“I didn’t check before I bought Lauren’s uniform as it was fine for last term and the school said nothing.
“I have looked since and it doesn’t say anything about trousers which are too tight. And in my opinion the trousers are reasonable.
“If there are rules they should be absolutely clear. If they had said in the policy then I’d have been fine.
“But I have told Lauren, if they put her in the sin bin then she is to come home immediately.”
George Perrens, deputy vice principal at Sir John Hunt said: “Uniform is important to us as a college. It allows our students to have a sense of pride, self-respect and confidence in the way that they present themselves.
“During last academic year we felt that a small number of students were not meeting our high uniform expectations, so instead of taking immediate action we elected to ensure that parents were given ample notice to correct their children’s uniform to reduce the financial impact for them:
“Over the last few months we have had an increasing number of students who have not been able to adhere to our uniform policy and have been attending in inappropriate skirts and trousers.
“Our uniform expectations were included in our weekly electronic newsletter throughout June with picture examples of expectation and hyperlinks to appropriate trousers.”