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Superhead Jon Whitcombe consults parents of pupils at The North School, Essella Road, Ashford, about possible second uniform change in a year

27 March 2014
by Suz Elvey

Parents of pupils at The North School have been asked to consider ANOTHER uniform change just six months after a huge row erupted over the introduction of the previous one.

New superhead Jon Whitcombe, who was brought in to turn the school around following an inadequate Ofsted report, sent a letter to all parents and carers last week inviting a small group of representatives to meet with him and “review uniform arrangements”.

Speaking exclusively to the Kentish Express, Mr Whitcombe said he would consider introducing a brand new uniform but he was also open to the idea of keeping the controversial one introduced by former head teacher Lesley Ellis last year.

Jon Whitcombe

Jon Whitcombe

He said: “I know how contentious uniform has been here. I think uniform is important but it needs to be cost effective.

"I want parents to be able to buy a number of items from local shops or supermarkets. I don’t want them to have to spend a lot of money. I do want to see a uniform that is smart and that the students are proud of.

“It could be the group of parents say they’re ok with how things are and they don’t want to change it or they might like a change of uniform.”

Mr Whitcombe said a discussion with parents about uniform was likely to take place after the Easter holidays.

In September we revealed that as many as 60 pupils were sent home from the Essella Road, Ashford, school for failing to wear the correct uniform.

The dress code included trousers or a skirt, a polo shirt and sweatshirt, all with the school logo embroidered on them.

The majority of the PE kit also had to be official North School clothing under the new rules.

"It’s making a fool of the kids, it’s making a fool of the Ofsted inspectors. The whole thing is hornswoggle," - grandmother Kate Creelman. 

Two months after the guidelines were introduced the mother of teenager Olivia Adams claimed a teacher cut a coloured label off her daughter’s £55 pair of Kickers shoes telling her footwear had to be plain black.

One person has already expressed disgust at the proposals.

Grandmother Kate Creelman accused North superhead Jon Whitcombe of trying to pull the wool over Ofsted inspectors’ eyes by dressing pupils up in a brand new uniform.

The 59-year-old from Brookfield Road, who has a 13-year-old granddaughter at the school, said: “All this new ‘Tsar’ wants to do is window dressing so Ofsted believes standards have been improved.

"He wants to scrap the uniform that cost us all a fortune in September and probably introduce a blazer and tie that will cost every child about £500.

"It’s making a fool of the kids, it’s making a fool of the Ofsted inspectors and it’s trying to make a fool of us and we have to pay for the privilege.

“I made my grandchildren’s trousers last time and I could make a blazer but to Hell with spending 60 hours sewing to be told it’s not the proper uniform.

"Plus my granddaughter is still growing. The whole thing is hornswoggle.”

  • Hornswoggle means to get the better of (someone) by cheating or deception.


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