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West Norfolk secondary school introduces new uniform despite parents' protests

A West Norfolk secondary school is set to introduce new uniforms from this autumn despite protests by parents concerned over cost and the “hideous” design.

Plans to enforce a new uniform at Marshland High School in West Walton, in a bid to wipe out inconsistency, particularly with trousers and skirts, were first revealed last October.

But the move caused an uproar from parents who were less than happy, with one Facebook post from an angry mum gathering more than 250 comments – nearly all negative – many branding the choices as “ridiculous” and “hideous”.

Marshland High School gave parents a choice of three styles of uniform, but there have since been changes following consultation. (29226863)
Marshland High School gave parents a choice of three styles of uniform, but there have since been changes following consultation. (29226863)

As a result of the furore the school launched a series of consultation events.

And now Craig Jansen, headteacher, and Steve Cozens, chairman of governors, have written to parents informing of the school’s decision to change the uniform.

The letter said: “Our decision to change the uniform was driven from our desire to further strengthen our school ethos, values and expectations, which includes good school behaviour.

“We want to strengthen our students’ sense of belonging to their school and also their pride of being part of our school community, as well as improving equality and eliminating inconsistencies.

“We also want to eliminate the need to challenge students over inappropriate uniform items, reduce conflict and promote positive relationships, allowing students and teachers to concentrate on teaching and learning.”

The letter acknowledged that affordability of the new uniforms was one of the key issues raised in the consultation.

It continued: “We are committed to ensuring that the cost of the uniform must not be used to socially exclude any parent from wishing to send their child to our school.

“We will supply every child with one free jacket and one free pair of trousers or one skirt for Years 7, 8 and 9, irrespective of parental income.

“The Learning Support Fund is also available for eligible families. This can provide a further 76 per cent subsidy for the purchase of uniform.

“We are now in a position to confirm there will be a phased introduction of a new school uniform for our new Year 7 intake and for Years 8 and 9 from the start of the next academic year in September.

“Years 10 and 11 will not see any change to their existing uniform, but if Year 10 and 11 children would like to wear the new uniform, it will be available to buy.

“Based on the feedback received, the uniform will differ slightly from the images previously shared during our consultation. New images will be posted onto our website once manufacturing is finalised.

“Our current uniform providers, Price and Buckland, will supply the new uniform, and there will be sizing events ahead of the new uniform released in the summer term.”

The new uniform will be a dark grey jacket with the school’s royal blue heron for both boys and girls, costing £32.50.

Dark grey trousers, also with the school’s emblem, cost £15.50. Girls can also choose a grey granite tartan knife pleat skirt with the emblem, costing £21. Anew school tie will cost £8.

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