Was school in the wrong?

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A Bridlington school that is banning female pupils from wearing skirts is believed to be the first in the country to do so.

It comes after a mum claims the decision to bring in the new uniform policy was “unfair” due to a lack of consultation.

Donna Curtis-Smith, of Fairfield Road, whose children Bridlington School, alleges the decision to prohibit girls from wearing skirts and to introduce embroidered logos on pupils’ trousers was unfair.

She says the “process should start again” because there was only one parent on the governing body when the vote was held on 9 December 2014. The second parent governor was absent from the meeting.

“A friend and I have worked hard investigating the Department for Education Uniform and Governors Handbook policies, and have found many points that have been ignored with regards to the guidance stated.

“In one case in particular, statutory guidance has clearly been met with total disregard.”

Mrs Curtis-Smith obtained a copy of the minutes from a governors’s vote on the new uniform policy, which she claimed “was made difficult” for her to get hold of.

She added: “It was shown that out of a possible board of 14 members, only 10 were in attendance and only seven were eligible to vote.

“Out of the seven that could vote, only three voted in favour, two voted against and there were two abstentions.

“The minutes show that Mrs Pashley was asked by the board if she had informed the school council of this proposal and gathered their opinions. Mrs Pashley informed them that this had not been done, showing that the governing body were aware that other people were to be consulted before a decision made, yet the vote still went ahead which is unacceptable to a vast majority of parents.”

“When this was pointed out to the head teacher her response was that the meeting was quorate and refused to discuss the matter any further.

Bridlington School Headteacher Sarah Pashley had organised a session for parents to questions the school on its decision to implement the new uniform change, which was held on 19 May 2015 at 4.30pm.

But Mrs Curtis-Smith claims: “This was a means of limiting the number of parents that would be able to attend, as many parents work until after 5pm.

“It would have been more appropriate to have held it in the evening to ensure more parents were available to attend,” she added.

Bridlington School went on to issue a statement which said 41 parents had attended the meeting. But Mrs Curtis-Smith alleged the number was closer to 100 as only one child’s parent needed to sign in.

“This did not account for the parents that were not required to sign in and does not account for the students that attended either,” Mrs Curtis-Smith added. “The school did not take the online petition into consideration despite it having 1,000 signatures.”

But headteacher Mrs Pashley said the school had in fact followed all guidelines and protocols available to them.

She said: “The Governing Body has 2 parent Governors in line with the designated constitution. Unfortunately one parent Governor sent her apologies to the meeting where uniform amendments were discussed. The Clerk to Governors confirmed that the meeting was quorate despite her absence.

“She has since resigned due to work commitments and we will be holding elections for her replacement next term. In terms of the parents’ meeting, all parents’ meetings/evenings at Bridlington School start at 4.30 pm. Attendance usually averages 70%. All parents who were unable to attend this meeting had the opportunity to contact me via phone/email. I would have been very happy to meet them at a time convenient to them. No one requested a meeting however. 600 sets of parents were invited to the meeting last Tuesday, but only 41 parents attended. All students in Years 7 to 10 were invited to the students’ uniform meeting which took place last week. Only 19 attended. I am very grateful to those parents and students who have given their feedback.”