On Tuesday 4th November, Hanson Academy in Bradford sent over 150 pupils home for failing to wear school uniform matching its newly enforced standards. These include minutae about the colour of the socks children wear, type of trousers, colour of shoe laces etc.
Angry parents took to the school’s facebook page to complain, one who had accidentally put her daughters tie in the wash, sent her to school with money for a replacement but she was sent home anyway! But given how tight incomes are at present, many parents can’t simply afford to replace school uniform that was perfectly fine until this week.
The Principal, Elizabeth Churlton made the absurd statement in defence of the policy on the school website that “Our uniform and dress codes set the tone for our community and provide the scaffolding for high standards in every aspect of school life” Surely the scaffolding for high standards should be good quality teaching?
However, Churlton is financially worlds apart from the situation faced by the parents of many of her pupils. The advertisement for the post of principal when Churlton applied for the post was around £125,000 a year, whereas the median wage in Bradford East constituency (where the school is located) is less than £18,000 a year.
Academies were designed to wrest local control away from education and instead it now lays in the hands of over-paid bureaucrats like Churlton and the academy trusts behind them. Rather than prioritising a quality education, their supposed “freedom to innovate” is being used to deny education to some of the poorest students and, like the scrapping of january exams and resists, ‘manage’ their expectations for the future where under capitalism only low pay and zero hour contracts await.
Yorkshire Socialist Students Organiser