January 20, 2022, 3:11

    Kids ‘frozen’ as school confiscates coats if they aren’t official £25 ones with logo

    Kids ‘frozen’ as school confiscates coats if they aren’t official £25 ones with logo

    Parents have slammed a school's strict new branded uniform policy which means their kids are stopped from wearing their own coats outside.

    Pupils at Bishop Heber in Malpas, Cheshire, can only wear a costly branded school jacket on school grounds.

    Photos taken by furious parents show staff milling around outside in warm overcoats while some children are just in jumpers, Cheshire Live reports.

    One mum said her asthmatic son was put into isolation for retrieving his confiscated coat because he was cold.

    The school says it believes if children were allowed to wear their own coats, it would "erode the great relationships we have with the students", because they might end up wearing hoodies.

    The school's policies have been slammed by Cheshire MP Mike Amesbury, who is currently pushing a Bill to make sure parents are not being saddled with hefty bills for branded uniforms.

    Do you agree with the school's uniform policy? Have your say in the comments section below

    Headteacher David Curry (left) with Bishop Heber students.

    Parents have also complained about the cost and quality of the branded windcheater which costs £25.

    One parent who has bought the branded school anorak said it was not sufficient to keep her children warm.

    She said: "They would literally have to have a branded polo, branded sweater, branded fleece and branded anorak in order to be warm and dry outside.

    "Given Mike Amesbury's law, that is extremely excessive branding – and I've never heard of another school having a branded outside coat before now."

    Those four items would set parents back by £94.50, ignoring the need for multiple purchases sensible for some items.

    An angry mum added: “They confiscated his [my son's] coat yesterday – outside – which I thought was absolutely ludicrous. He has asthma, which he is on constant medication for, so getting cold does him no good whatsoever.

    "Because he went and got his coat back because he was cold, he has been put into isolation, that was his punishment.

    “Why would you take a coat off a child when you know they’ve got asthma?"

    Parents have also complained about the cost and quality of the branded clothing
    (

    Image:
    Chester Chronicle)

    She continued: “Kids should not be worried about getting into trouble for keeping warm.

    "It’s just nonsensical. When they’re going into a warm classroom it’s totally different, but when you’re going into a classroom with the doors and windows open, you soon get cold when you’re sitting down.

    “At some point, common sense has to prevail. These kids should not have to be cold.”

    Another mum said: “It was bitterly cold, freezing all day, and his hands were so cold that he couldn’t hold his pen in English. When he came out of school he was absolutely frozen.

    “These children are freezing outside, then they’re going into a classroom with the windows all open – they need to be warm. If we’ve got to have this rule, if that’s what the headteacher wants, then please can he ditch his padded coat and can the teachers lead by example by all standing outside without their coats on? Because I think that would set a good example for the children."

    She added: “These children have a right to be warm."

    Another mum said: "Some of the policies of the school are absolutely archaic. A lot of parents have been asking why their children have been put into isolation, and they’ve not really received any answers from the school.

    Bishop Heber is in Malpas, Cheshire
    (

    Image:
    Chester Chronicle)

    "Whether it’s raining, sleet or snow, if it’s really Baltic cold, they’re not allowed to wear their jackets. Teachers will go up to them in the yard and tell them to get their coats off.

    "They’re preaching about what an amazing school they are, but they’re not treating pupils with respect."

    A fourth parent added they felt Bishop Heber is "more akin to a Victorian workhouse than a school".

    In an email to the parents of Year 9 students, head teacher David Curry explained the rationale behind the coat ban.

    He said he was "aware that there’s been some discourse on social media about coats and why students cannot wear their own in school"

    The email reads: "I’d like to take this opportunity to state that students are allowed to wear coats to and from school as some have long journeys and have to wait for parents and/or buses in the morning/afternoon.

    "However, once they arrive at school after registration period, we expect that an undergarment (e.g. vest/t-shirt/base layer) along with a school polo shirt, jumper, fleece and optional jacket (windcheater) would be sufficient to keep them warm and conversely allow them to take layers off when in warmer classrooms.

    "In essence, the four/five layers of clothing we suggest should be more than ample to ask them to go out at break to get a blast of fresh air and withstand almost all weathers.

    "We are fortunate at Heber that students almost always understand this and so usually it works really well.

    "If we allowed non-uniform coats, we believe strongly that it would erode the great relationships we have with the students day to day as inevitably students would push the boundaries and wear hoodies and other coats (inc. styles and colours) that undermines the high standards we have.

    "More importantly, I also believe that it would become a status issue for us and possibly make some students feel vulnerable.

    "Many of the most expensive coats (e.g. North Face and Canada Goose are upward of £200-£300 even £1,000) and wearing/owning the ‘right’ coat could become the motive rather than its thermal properties which I feel, could undermine what we stand for as a comprehensive school and put pressure on students in school and families to conform to a set of norms/expectations that aren’t healthy, marginalising some students and putting at risk that sense of belonging which we work so hard to achieve at Heber.

    "I hope our rationale makes sense and that our drive to ensure every child can be the best they can be is central to the decision."

    An Act of Parliament designed to reduce exorbitant school uniform costs was passed this year, and is set to come into force from this September.

    The Bill was introduced and championed by Mr Amesbury, MP for Weaver Vale and Shadow Local Government Minister.

    He said: “The reason I championed this cause was because too many children, families and carers were facing the strain of increased, prohibitive costs in terms of school uniforms up and down the country, particularly around branded items of clothing.

    “Schooling should [be] about a child’s ability to do not their family’s ability to pay.

    “What is being reported by parents is clearly against the spirit of the Act. To hear about coats being confiscated in the middle of winter because they are deemed non-compliant with uniform policy, is plainly ridiculous.

    "I agree with the principle of school uniform but would encourage Bishop Heber to get ahead of the game by adopting a more reasonable approach in its policy, with greater emphasis on affordability and less emphasis on insisting on every item must incorporate school branding.”

    Cheshire West and Chester Council and Ofsted both said that they do not have a policy on school uniform, and so could not comment on this case.

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    Sourse: mirror.co.uk

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