Parents horrified after school calls uniform store employees to measure length of skirts girl students were wearing

Great Yarmouth Charter Academy had earlier sent out a list of haircuts that were banned, including the now-infamous 'Meet me at McDonald's' haircut


                            Parents horrified after school calls uniform store employees to measure length of skirts girl students were wearing

Barry Smith, head teacher of Great Yarmouth Charter Academy, has enraged parents yet again after calling in staff from a school uniform shop to measure pupils' skirts.

The school justified the tactic because some girls were hitching up their skirts above the school-approved knee-length. Smith, who is considered one of the strictest headmasters of Britain, had previously banned 'Meet Me At McDonald's' haircut and had been the subject of parents' fury by telling pupils when to go to bed and get up.

This time, one parent called the approach to uniform policy 'a joke' while another said that isn't a bit "pleased that outside people are inspecting my daughter's uniform."

Representative picture of the short uniform skirt
Representative picture of the short uniform skirt

One mother took to Facebook to vent her anger and wrote; "I think it's a joke. You'd think they'd have more important things to do than waste time checking children's uniforms. Great use of taxpayers' money."

Another wrote: "So today 2x ladies from Harrison's uniform shop were in and (Mr) Smith was saying all skirts and trousers have to be from Harrisons and will be put on the site soon. The Harrisons ladies then inspected all skirts with a teacher. Not best pleased that outside people are inspecting my daughter's uniform."

Smith has enlisted members of staff from nearby uniform retailer Harrisons Schoolwear to measure pupils' hems. The 800-pupil Norfolk secondary school said the women identified a handful of students flouting its rules by using hair bobbles and elastic bands to raise the hemline of their skirts.



 

The Harrisons manager explained that a handful of girls had raised their hemlines by pulling up their skirts, bunching the excess material at the side and then using elastic band to tie it up and hold the garment in place. According to the academy's own uniform policy, the grey skirts should be knee-length and sit on the hip.

Charter has once again defended its decision with a spokesperson of The Inspiration Trust, the academy chain behind Charter, saying: "Great Yarmouth Charter Academy held assemblies to remind pupils of the school's uniform policy, and to introduce pupils to staff from the school's uniform supplier Harrisons."

"Some pupils were given advice on their uniform, particularly in relation to skirt length."

Harrisons Schoolwear's spokesperson added; "We were called in by the school to check the lengths of some of the girls' skirts because some of them are rolling them up. Their policy is for knee length. We work with the schools and if the schools want us we are there. We are there to back the schools because we are their stockists, we are working with them."

The inspection comes after a report found one in three schoolgirls had experienced some form of unwanted sexual attention while wearing their uniform. A poll of 1,004 girls aged 14-21 found 35 percent had received unwanted sexual attention or contact such as being groped, stared at and catcalled. One in eight of respondents said they first received such unwanted attention before they turned 13.

Great Yarmouth Charter Academy has previously been criticized for its strict new rules on uniform and haircuts, even banning one style called 'Meet Me at McDonald's'.



 

The haircut featuring curly hair on top and short at the sides was compared to the '80s New Romantic movement. In a lengthy letter sent to pupils in February, the school outlined specific haircuts which would not be allowed including "longer tops that are not layered in and combined with sharply contrasting sides and back," "shaven parting lines," and even "any type of Mohican hairstyle."

After the Inspiration academy trust took over the school in September 2017, pupils were banned from using mobile phones at school, ordered to walk in single file to lessons, and told to be asleep by 9.30 pm and up by 6.30 am every day.

Parents took to social media to call elements of the new regime "silly," but an unannounced Ofsted inspection this February found the once-poorly performing school was scaling in the right direction.

Inspectors found a "considerable decline of serious misconduct" since the measures were introduced. Ofsted inspector Jason Howard wrote; "All of the large number of pupils who spoke with inspectors said that they now feel safe at school. Pupils moved around the school site in an orderly manner and behaved very politely and respectfully to their peers and to adults."

"They wore their uniform with pride, arrived at lessons promptly, and settled down to learning quickly. In all lessons visited, learning took place in a calm and orderly environment. Relationships between pupils and teachers were positive, and consequently, pupils had the confidence to ask and to answer questions. Pupils behaved well, both when interacting with their teachers and when working on their own," he added, marking that the school showed "significant improvement in pupil behavior" under the strict regime imposed since Smith took over Great Yarmouth High School.