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Walsall school uniform row over logo policy on coats and bags

By Thomas Parkes | Pelsall | Education | Published:

Parents are 'outraged' over a school uniform row after children have been told to wear a new uniform as large coats and bags cause a 'health and safety hazard'.

Ryders Hayes School. Picture: Google

Children at Ryders Hayes School, in Pelsall, Walsall, have been told they must have coats, bags and PE kits with school logos on.

School leaders say they made the decision to change the uniform in July 2017 and implemented the changes this week.

The school, based in Gilpin Crescent, says it is using four suppliers from which parents could purchase uniforms.

A payment plan scheme is also in place for parents to buy clothes over a six-month period.

But it has been claim the scheme could leave parents facing costs of forking out for two coats - one for in and one for out of school.

The Ryders Hayes school bag from supplier Crested School Wear retailing at £10.99

One parent said: "We've not only got to purchase a coat, we've also got to purchase a winter coat and there's a lot of people who can't afford to purchase the two coats.

"They've measured the coats and bags so they fit in the locker, but my child has told me he's having trouble putting his stuff in.

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"We were told about this in 2017 and we had to get the items before the term started on Tuesday.

"They've set up a debt line to pay for the items. Well, I'm sorry, that's just getting people who can't afford it into debt in the first place.

"It's nothing to do with health and safety, it's about making a profit."

The parent claimed locker searches had been conducted and the names of children who didn't have the uniform were wrote down and handed to teachers.

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The Ryders Hayes reversible coat, retailing from supplier Crested School Wear at £23.99

A spokesperson for the school said: "The change was brought in because children have been coming into school with large bags and coats which cause a health and safety hazard given the size of the school corridors.

"The school has purchased lockers to fit the new bags and coats which will ensure that this is no longer a hazard.

"The school has listened to parents and has made some changes to the uniform requirements.

"Four formal complaints have been received for over 500 children, which have all been addressed.

"The vast majority of parents have purchased the additional uniform and children are proud to be wearing it. The school has gone to great lengths to supply good value items and is using four suppliers for the uniform to ensure as low a cost as possible for parents, with coats costing a maximum of £28 and bags available at £8.

"The school is providing a payment plan for all parents who wish to pay for all their uniform over a six-month period and the school is financially supporting a number of parents in hardship or those eligible for pupil premium.

"The school is aware that some families have not been able to purchase the required uniform due to low stock over the summer and is therefore going to great lengths to identify those families who have uniform on order and are as yet unable to comply, so that no action is taken in line with the policy and all children are enjoying playtimes as usual.

"The school has communicated by letter or face to face with parents where children are not wearing school uniform, to ascertain the reason. Where parents are refusing to purchase the uniform, the Department for Education guidance is being followed.

"The decision taken over a year ago has radically improved health and safety in our corridors this week."

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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