Heckmondwike Grammar head teacher defends hot weather uniform policy as MP calls for pupils to be allowed to wear shorts in school

Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater has called on schools to use their "common sense" and allow pupils to wear shorts during the ongoing heatwave.

By Dominic Brown
Tuesday, 19th July 2022, 12:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th July 2022, 12:07 pm

The call comes after Ms Leadbeater supported the father of a pupil at Heckmondwike Grammar School who was sent home on Monday (July 18) for wearing clothing that was not in keeping with the school's revised uniform policy.

Ms Leadbeater said: “In these sweltering conditions it is just common sense for schools to show flexibility in their uniform policies.

"The health and well-being of the pupils must come first and I don’t believe there should be any objection to allowing them to wear smart shorts.

Peter Roberts, head teacher at Heckmondwike Grammar School

"Many employers are sensibly relaxing the rules for what people can wear to work, including in Parliament, and I hope head teachers will take the same approach.”

In response, Peter Roberts, head teacher at Heckmondwike Grammar, said the school has adapted its uniform policy in light of the hot weather, with many parents praising the approach.

He said: "We reviewed our uniform requirements last week in light of this week’s forecast hot weather.

"Like most other grammar schools in the North of England, who we regularly share ideas with, we took the view wearing a loose fitting, plain white cotton shirt, with no tie and no blazer, was best the best course of action.

Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater

"We didn’t like the idea of closer fitting, man-made fibre PE kit, which in our case is predominantly black.

"Allowing students to wear shorts of their choice would result in 100s of different styles, which negates the word 'uniform'.

"Yesterday, every single student, bar one, in the whole school, dressed according to our instructions.

"The student who didn’t support our policy lives a short walk from school and went home to change.

"We had excellent attendance in excess of 96 per cent (despite a lot of students and staff having Covid).

"At lunchtime, the SLT delivered ice-pops to all students and staff and there was a delightful, very relaxed, summer’s day spirit pervading across the school."

Currently the Year 13 and Year 11 students are not in school, as they have completed their A-level and GCSE exams. This spare capacity has allowed staff to put classes in the air-conditioned rooms.

Mr Roberts added: "We live in the North of England, where we get our share of grey, damp, cool weather to say the least.

"For two days we are carrying on relatively normally, but very safely, having a lovely time, celebrating an excellent year in school, with a relaxed atmosphere and enjoying each other’s company."

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