Mums see red over school ban on black plimsolls

Michele McEwan holding her son's black plimsolls after he had to sit two GCSEs in isolation because he wore the shoes to school. Also pictured is another mother who suffered the same situation, Lucy Hurst.
Michele McEwan holding her son's black plimsolls after he had to sit two GCSEs in isolation because he wore the shoes to school. Also pictured is another mother who suffered the same situation, Lucy Hurst.
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A TEENAGER had to sit his GCSE maths exams in isolation because he was not wearing the right shoes.

Dan Crouch, 15, a student at William Parker Sports College, was also sent home because he wore black plimsolls.

His mum, Michele McEwan, of Hillside Road, said she and other parents are furious over the school’s recent clampdown on what it deems as inappropriate footwear.

It said too many of its students were not wearing black leather shoes, instead opting for plimsolls.

Dan’s mum said: “His dad ended up having to buy him a pair of black leather shoes in the end. I have spoken to a lot of parents whose sons have been sent home because they don’t have the right shoes.

“I can’t afford to spend £50 for new shoes that Dan keeps wearing out. I looked up the definition of a plimsoll, which is a canvas shoe. There is nothing in the school’s policy that says it has to be a black leather shoe, it just says black shoe.

“It’s wrong for William Parker to suddenly start doing this. One other pupil has had the same shoes since last September but was sent home. The school seems to be targeting year 11 pupils.”

Lucy Hurst, of Harkness Drive, who works as a senior carer, said her son was sent home on the same day Dan was, for the same reason.

She said: “I told the school I was not happy at all, considering he has not worn proper black shoes since before Christmas but not been pulled up on it.

“He does have a pair but they are worn out. Every term I’ve had to buy a new pair of black leather shoes for him. I can’t keep doing it.

“The school’s policy just states black shoes and my son wears black ones, but they are plimsolls.

“I know of at least a couple of dozen parents who are not happy about this.

“Every morning when my son arrives at school he has to go to the head of year’s office to pick up a pair of black leather shoes.

“He has been told if he doesn’t wear appropriate shoes he will have to sit his GCSE exams in isolation. What he has on his feet surely is not as important as his education.”

John Court, headteacher at William Parker, said: “We have always been proud of our uniform standards and our policy does state black shoes.

“We did some checking and found some of our students were not wearing appropriate shoes so with health and safety in mind we put our foot down.

“We know some parents are struggling at the moment and we actually supply a stock of black leather shoes for students to wear if their own are damaged.

“Black plimsolls are not black shoes.”

He added William Parker’s uniform lending system worked ‘very well’ and said the school’s policy had not changed in more than 20 years.

Mr Court said William Parker was not targeting a particular year group.