Amanda Chapman 0

Excessive Uniform Clamp Down - Tyndale Community School

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As parents and carers at Tyndale Community School we are proud to be part of an amazing and evolving school that provides a great education and nurturing environment for our children. The ethos of the school and its values are based on helping to make our little people the best they can be for the good of society. It’s also a school that we’re proud to say that until very recently was evolving, taking feedback and working with parents and carers to do the right thing for the school community. This has helped to nurture a positive relationship between the school and parents which is usually maintained through collaboration and empathy.

On 14th February an email about uniform was sent out to parents telling us that the principle had visited classes telling the children what uniform was expected of them. Some parents see this as a ‘shaming’ exercise that has put fear into their children whilst others have been bolstered and found this a positive intervention which has helped them encourage their children into the right PE kit. The communication also noted that the revised policy would be ‘strictly enforced’ from 24th February onwards, giving parents just 10 days to comply. On 2nd March, based on feedback, the school sent another email with compromise instructions for PE trainers and white sports socks. There was also a plea for parents to work with the school to ensure all children have school shoes that comply with the policy as soon as possible. There has been little communication in recent years on the subject and the policy has understandably evolved over time.

Since 14th February, many parents have been forced to purchase new items for their children including shoes, PE trainers and socks and many children have been reminded in school on a regular basis and are now worried about getting into trouble for wearing the wrong things. The children with the wrong colour PE trainers or a little colour in their otherwise compliant trainers have been forced to wear their school shoes with their PE kit and change into their trainers for PE. This has resulted in children feeling punished and looking silly in front of their friends. Other parents who have recently bought new school shoes in dark but non-compliant colours have children who are forcing their feet into old but ill-fitting shoes so that they don’t get into trouble at school. Other parents have refused to buy new shoes so their children are being reminded regularly to get new ones.

This is putting pressure on these small minds and the children are now anxious and worried about doing the wrong thing when they have no control over this - other than to make their parents feel incredibly guilty.

Without any prior warning of a clamp-down and with new additions to the policy mid-year, many parents are feeling bullied into either purchasing new items or making their children feel ostracised and naughty in front of their classmates. No amount of explanation or rationale can change the bruised feelings of these targeted children. Some parents were also told at the beginning of the year (when clarity was requested on the policy) that certain items were permitted, which now aren’t.

The school has many great initiatives which many of us are proud of such as a food bank, a mental health initiative for children and a climate change initiative which all align to the beautiful values of the school. However on the uniform issues, teachers in conversation with parents on this policy fail to understand the financial, emotional and environmental impacts of this behaviour. It has been highlighted in the news this month that schools should be doing more to limit the impact of the spiralling costs of uniform. Lots of parents also feel strongly that replacing adequate items of uniform is irresponsible given the current environmental pressures. Many parents feel that the school is detracting from the strong values to which most of us align.

We are proud to be part of a kind, generous, eclectic community of brilliant families and hardworking teaching and school staff. The majority of parents and carers are fully on board with the new, clearer policies and are happy to comply but with this petition we request a reprieve until September giving parents ample time to plan without unnecessary worry or negative impact on our little people and their parents and carers.

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