Girls sent home from school over skirt lengths

Caldicot School
School staff also hit the headlines last year when they went on strike over violence in the classroom [BBC]

Girls have been sent home from a school over the length of their skirts.

Pupils at Caldicot School in Monmouthshire say they have had their skirt length measured, with one parent claiming up to 200 pupils were denied entry to class.

Girls have also been handed face wipes to remove make-up and clippers to cut nails, it is claimed.

One 14-year-old said she was ordered to have her skirt measured by a male teacher as part of the strict new dress rules.

When she refused, she was sent to a room where other pupils were being held and prevented from attending lessons, before eventually being sent home for wearing false eyelashes.

Monmouthshire council insisted all matters relating to girls’ uniforms were being dealt with by female members of staff.

A letter sent to parents last week said skirts would have to be “to the knee”.

Acting headteacher Alun Ebenezer said: "Students will not be allowed to walk around school if these guidelines are not followed.”

Previously interim head teacher at The Deepings School in Lincolnshire, Mr Ebenezer faced similar criticism in 2022 when parents claimed pupils there were excluded from lessons for wearing the wrong socks and trousers.

And as part of a trust in charge of Haven High Academy in the same county, Mr Ebenezer was a key player in enforcing a "no nonsense" approach towards disruptive students earlier this year.

That clampdown on bad behaviour and non-regulation appearance in May saw 86 children excluded in just two days.

At Caldicot school, another girl, aged 13, said she was also told she could not attend lessons because of how she looked.

“When I got to school there were two teachers on the front door and they said: ‘you’ve got eyelashes on’," she said.

"They took me to a room and there were literally about 50 girls in there.”

She also claimed a female teacher attempted to pull her friend’s skirt down, seemingly to stretch it, which briefly exposed the shorts she wore underneath.

Her mum, who came to collect her, said: “They’ve got all these girls in so-called 'holding rooms' before sending them home.

"It is unfair and targeting girls - they don’t even want to teach them.”

One father, who asked not to be named, said his 15-year-old son was sent home because his shirt was untucked, while his 13-year-old daughter was singled out due to the length of her skirt.

He said they have been threatened with exclusion from the school as a result, calling the move "totally pathetic".

Another parent, Kevin Price, said up to 200 pupils had been denied entry to classes, leaving both students and parents in tears.

He demanded the school provide him, in writing, the reason his daughter was being denied an education and accused staff of causing "emotional harm".

Councillor Rachel Garrick, who represents Caldicot, said she was concerned.

“I always get concerned at a list of reasons to remove education from children that appears focused on gender," she said.

"It feels very much like girls' bodies are being considered more than their right to an education.”

A spokesperson for Monmouthshire council said: “We are aware that Caldicot School staff have been more rigorous in implementing the school’s uniform policy as published on the school’s website.

“The acting headteacher wrote to all parents and carers last week setting out that this would be the case as of Monday.

“With regards to the specific question regarding the length of skirts in school; all matters relating to girls’ uniforms are being dealt with by female members of staff.”

Last year teachers at the school staged strike action claiming its leadership had failed to address verbal and physical abuse they faced from pupils.