School admits strict uniform policy could have been handled better

An academy trust has admitted that strict uniform policy changes could have been handled better after hundreds of parents raised objections.

Friday, 14th September 2018, 4:13 pm
Updated Friday, 14th September 2018, 5:17 pm

More than 400 signed an online petition before the summer holidays against Horbury Academy’s decision to make the clothing available only through their own supplier, and at an extra cost to standard clothing.

New uniform policy has parents signing online petitionParents accused the school of cashing in and it led to ward councillors Darren Byford and Michael Graham writing an open letter to the school.

They accused leaders of ignoring parents and even questioning the legality of the decision to use just one supplier under competition laws.

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But following a meeting between the councillors and Alan Warboys, the CEO of the school’s parent academy trust, Accord, he has written a letter to parents acknowledging the shortcomings.

Sending your child to school costs upto £800 a yearHe said: “Clearly, the changes to the uniform policy at Horbury Academy have caused a strength of feeling from some parents, and it is important to acknowledge that this has been the case.

“Having taken the time to review the situation, it is clear that academy has the very best intentions in terms of expectations around uniform.

“However, it is also clear that the timing of the new policy has led to some difficulties in terms of accessibility and the appropriate level of communication and consultation at all levels.

“It is important to clarify that neither the trust, nor the academy, receive financial gain from the sale of uniforms.”

Wakefield West ward councillor, Michael Graham spoke to the Express and said the meeting had been ‘constructive and positive’.

He said: “There’s a promise in future to involve parents with consultation, that was one of the big issues.

“They insist they are not making any profit, but that’s not to say it’s okay - it’s still a massive cost to parents.

“We will keep a close eye on this and see exactly what happens. We’d be very happy to step back in if parents are not being listened to.”

The uniform changes were part of the school’s Standards for Success’ initiative to ‘bring about heightened expectations on students’.