Parents frustrated as school refuses to back down over uniforms

Reporter:

Josh Morris

A group of parents have expressed their frustration after a school refused to back down over a new uniform which they say is needlessly expensive.

Parents say their wishes over the uniform have been ignored, as has guidance from the Welsh Government.

Ysgol Brynhyfryd’s new uniform will be introduced after the summer holidays with pupils required to buy a whole new uniform with year 11 and 13 pupils only exempt from buying a blazer.

Welsh Government guidance calls for schools to implement a one year transition period.

However the school have decided to fully implement the uniform from day one despite complaints from parents.

Parents have also criticised the school’s policy of prohibiting supermarket trousers, saying “When purchasing the compulsory items, the named manufacturer and style should be followed in order to ensure adherence to the school dress code.”

The uniform specifies skirts that cost either £19 or £26 per item, and trousers at £18 and £23 from specified suppliers, with parents pointing out supermarket alternatives cost a fraction of the price.

Financial support will be offered to pupils on free school meals at £50 per child for those in years 7-9 and 11.

Ysgol Brynhyfryd have yet to issue a response.

Mum of five Abigail Green from Gwyddelwern, 43, has one child at Brynhyfryd with two of her others at Dinas Bran in Llangollen, which has more relaxed rules over uniform.

Abigail said: “The school have ignored the guidance from the Welsh Government over the matter, and although it’s just guidance, it’s written for a reason. One thing is they suggest a least a year’s transition, that would’ve been useful, we could have used up whatever uniform we had left and purchased new uniform bit by bit to save having one big outlay.

“It’d also stop children in later years having to buy a new uniform at all. The other guidance is for there to be only one piece of uniform with logos on, and we have the blazers, jumpers and two PE kit tops.

“The guidance also says trousers and skirts should be widely available but they’ve opted for a brand and a style that’s three times more than what a supermarket charges.

“71% of parents wanted a change in uniform but actually 54% favoured no blazer, and they’ve rolled the blazer out regardless.”

Some parents have had complaints about the fit of the brands the school requires.

Sue Jones said: “It’s impossible to get a pair of trousers in the official Brand stipulated by Ysgol Brynhyfryd to fit my daughter as the waist is not adjustable. The waist on the boys trousers is adjustable!”

Adele Hughes said: “My son is going into year 11 and I have to buy it all apart from the blazer. I will be unable to get help towards the cost as I am a working single parent. I am not against a new uniform just the cost.”

Michelle Macdonald said: “Should my daughter come home with torn, worn or damaged trousers....some weeks on my family budget I will not be able to ‘just replace’ those items as and when they need to be.

“The cost of the trousers is a large percentage of my weekly shopping bill and this is because the school governors have chosen brands. There are cheaper,unbranded, sufficient trousers in supermarkets that I would find easier to pay for.”

Writing to the Free Press several weeks ago, headteacher Geraint Parry said: “We do recognise and accept that a small number of people are not happy with aspects of the uniform and 15 e-mails have been received at the school, together with six letters to the governing body.

“We do, however, consider this to be a very small proportion, taking into account that approximately 1,000 pupils attend Ysgol Brynhyfryd.”

Email:

josh.morris@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Free Press

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