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Mum Anna Stewart of Ashford in row over shoes with Homewood School, Tenterden

By Rachael Woods

A mum has accused a school of being “ridiculous” and claims her son was placed in isolation for wearing the wrong shoes.

Mum-of-four Anna Stewart sent her son Russell, 12, to Homewood School in Tenterden wearing black lace-up Vans, and she was informed that if he did not wear appropriate footwear he would be pulled from classes.

Anna Stewart who says a school's uniform rule is 'ridiculous'
Anna Stewart who says a school's uniform rule is 'ridiculous'

But Mrs Stewart said she only received the note yesterday, which didn’t give her time to purchase another pair of shoes, leading to her son’s exclusion today.

Her daughter in Year 10 has also been warned about wearing the wrong style of trousers, which the school deems too tight, although her younger sibling in Year 8 hasn’t being ticked off for wearing the same pair of trousers from Asda.

Mrs Stewart, who works as a dog groomer, said: “My son’s shoes are black leather and the girls’ trousers are just straight-legged, with button and zip.

Russell Stewart was put in isolation for wearing the wrong shoes
Russell Stewart was put in isolation for wearing the wrong shoes

“It’s ridiculous. I could understand if my son was going to school in white trainers and the girls in jogging bottoms, but it’s not the case.”

The family, including husband Craig, recently moved to Ashford from Carlisle in Cumbria and the children began school after term started and have been wearing the same uniform since mid September.

Anna added: “I’m a working mum but cannot afford to replace uniform immediately. If the school had sent a letter to me asking for it to be replaced at the end of January that would have been reasonable.”

She said school staff are reviewing the exclusion but cannot overturn the decision made by the head of college and in the meantime Russell has returned home.

Anna, who had a hospital appointment for a biopsy today says the situation has caused her a great deal of stress: “What the children are wearing is not affecting their learning or anyone’s learning at the school, but it is affecting me.”

The lace-up Vans ruled unsuitable by Homewood School
The lace-up Vans ruled unsuitable by Homewood School

Homewood School principal, Sally Lees said: "The uniform policy at Homewood School has not changed. The information is included in the home-school agreement, which every parent and student signs on admission to the school."

Mrs Lees said that parents were reminded of school uniform requirements at the end of the Christmas term via a letter posted on the school's website and also by text, to give them time to make "necessary adjustments" over the holiday.

"We do uphold high standards in behaviour and uniform because we know how important this is in maintaining a positive atmosphere in school where students feel they belong and where they can get on with their learning in as calm an environment as possible," said Mrs Lees.

"Students are not isolated if they do not comply but they are given a different and quiet space to get on with their work until the issues with uniform and/or behaviour have been rectified."

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