Furious mum claims 'prison' school told her to send kids elsewhere after daughter banned from class over £75 Kickers

A FURIOUS mum claims that a "prison-like" school told her to send her kids elsewhere after her daughter was banned from class over wearing £75 Kickers.

Mum Emma Squires has blasted the school’s “military-camp-style” uniform policy which put her daughter Ella, 14, in isolation for nearly a week because of the shoes she was wearing.

She asked a teacher before the summer holiday if the shoes met the new regulations and was given the green light – only to find out two weeks before the school started that they were unsuitable.

A letter about the new rules was sent to parents by Leeds’ John Smeaton Academy in mid-August, which was recently taken over by the GORSE Trust.

It stated that all branded shoes are not allowed but Emma had already bought new kickers for her children, Ella and Charlie, 11.

The 14-year-old went to school last Friday – but has been in isolation until today. 

Emma told the Sun Online: “It’s like a military camp and they have to go through uniform checks one by one at the school gate. 

“Some kids wear branded shoes such as Dr Martens but they are fine. I asked if I could just take the tag off the Kickers but they said ‘no’. It doesn’t make sense.

“I only bought Kickers because they are durable. My daughter walks home from school every day and she needs some good shoes, especially if it’s raining.

“My son has special needs and it was already a struggle to get him to wear the Kickers, but now they are saying you can’t wear them. 

“It’s like they are making up the rules as they go along. One of my friends has bought her daughter four pairs of trousers but she was still excluded from school. It was ridiculous.”

She went to the school to pick Ella up from isolation on Tuesday, where she was given a booklet to do for the day and a sandwich for dinner.

Mum-of-three Emma said there were around 20 parents also waiting to pick their kids up due to issues with the school’s uniform policy. 

John Smeaton Academy was caught in uniform controversy earlier this week, where a 13-year-old schoolgirl was told to change trousers and socks because her ankles "could be distracting to teachers."

Emma added: “I couldn’t believe it, it’s like a prison. Not only was she missing out on education, but also was left starving.

"How can a small sandwich be enough? It’s like they are discriminating against my kids because of my choices.


"There's no clarity on the rules either. One teacher may say it's acceptable and others say it's not.

“Ella has been wearing Kickers for three years and we never had a problem with them.

“They said the rules were there to help get their grades up, but what’s the science or logic in that?”

Having paid over £150 for Ella and Charlie’s Kickers, she had to buy another two pairs that fit the school policy – which she thinks will need to be replaced every couple of months.

The school has now told her that children can wear Kickers on the way to school as long as they change to the Dolly shoes at the school gate, which they have offered to provide.

Emma added: “I had to take Ella out to buy shoes on Wednesday and I had to send pictures to her teacher to double-check if they'd be okay.

"She was finally allowed in classes but another kid who’s got the same pair went into isolation.

“The school has said to me and a few other parents that we should start looking at other schools if we are not sticking to the rules. 

“I’m seriously thinking of leaving the school, the only thing is that Ella is in Year 10 and all of her friends are there. It’s going to be a tough decision.”

A spokesperson for the school said: “We believe that all students should be smart and well-presented, and should adhere to the uniform policy.

"We are committed to high standards in all areas of the school, whether that is classwork, behaviour or uniform, and we make no apologies for that.”

A spokesperson for The GORSE Academies Trust said: "The trust would wish to categorically make clear, that at no point, have we or would we encourage any child or family to seek a place at another school as this would constitute off-rolling.

They said that the claims are "categorically untrue."

The GORSE Academies Trust officially took over the running of the school on the 1 September, however, the incoming Principal wrote to all families in July to outline uniform expectations, along with a series of assemblies in which uniform expectations was strongly communicated to all students.

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