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Editor’s comment: Highbury Grove uniform row suggests City of London Academy Trust has its priorities muddled up

PUBLISHED: 17:40 14 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:47 14 September 2017

City of London Academy Highbury Grove bag.

City of London Academy Highbury Grove bag.

Archant

Daniel Culver hits the nail on the head when he describes the peculiar new uniform policy at Highbury Grove as farcical.

When I was a kid the main thing was that you actually turned up at school, not that your bag and coat were branded appropriately.

I understand the principle behind school uniform: that children are provided with good quality clothes that won’t bankrupt households; that they feel less pressure to fit in by wearing the latest kit; that children from all backgrounds are equal rather than being instantly marked out by what their families can afford; that youngsters can be easily identified and be ambassadors for their school on trips and outside the classroom. It is not supposed to be a way of humiliating young adults on a technicality and depriving them of a day’s education.

There are many things teenagers should learn at school beyond the curriculum, but blind, inflexible submission to silly rules is not one of them. In their adult lives, these young people ought to be equipped to challenge and negotiate, and to give respect where it is earnt. The way the new academy treated this student is not worthy of that respect – hers, her dad’s, or ours.

It’s good news that someone saw sense on Monday and let the girl back in after a less than auspicious start to the year. But let’s remember we’re talking about a bag and a coat, items that are rarely if ever included within school uniform – and that this girl is in her final year of sixth form, a transitional period between school and university where students should be treated like the maturing adults they are. City of London Academy Trust only gained the school in the first place because of a disappointing Ofsted rating – it should focus on sorting that out, not on writing its name on everything that isn’t nailed down.

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