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Education Monmouthshire South Wales

Caldicot School girls sent home over skirt lengths

Caldicot Comprehensive School

A TEENAGE girl claims she was told to present herself to a male teacher for the length of her skirt to be measured as part of a uniform crackdown. 

She is among dozens of girls sent home from school after a new acting headteacher introduced strict new rules on uniforms that parents, and a local councillor, have said are targeted at girls. 

Monmouthshire council has said all matters relating to girls’ uniforms are being dealt with by female members of staff. 

A letter sent to parents at Caldicot School last week insisted skirts would have to be “to the knee” and on Monday morning girls arriving for class reported being confronted with wet wipes to remove make up and nail clippers to cut their nails as well as demands that the length of their skirts are measured. 

Acting headteacher Alun Ebenezer has enforced the crackdown and warned parents in the letter: “Students will not be allowed to walk around school if these guidelines are not followed.” 

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

A 14-year-old girl, who spoke to the Local Democracy Reporting Service with her mother’s permission but on condition of anonymity, said she was ordered to have her skirt measured by a male teacher when she arrived. 

The year nine pupil said: “I walked in and a teacher said to go to Mr (male teacher) to get my skirt measured.” 

The youngster said rather than present her legs for inspection she went straight to the room where pupils were being held and prevented from attending lessons. She was sent home for wearing false eyelashes. 

A 13-year-old pupil, Amile, who had to be collected by her mother, Natalie Kyne, said she was also told she couldn’t attend lessons as she wore false eyelashes. 

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“When I got to school there were two teachers on the front door and they said ‘you’ve got eyelashes on’ and they took me to a room and there were literally about 50 girls in that room.” 

She claimed a female teacher had attempted to pull her friend’s skirt down, seemingly to stretch it, and shorts the girl was wearing underneath were briefly exposed. 

Her mum said: “They’ve got all these girls in isolation rooms, they are now calling them holding rooms, for them all to be sent home. It is unfair and targeting girls. It is beyond a joke, they don’t even want to teach them.” 

One father, who asked not to be named, had to collect his 15-year-old son, as his shirt was untucked, and 13-year-old daughter due to the length of her skirt. 

He said they have been threatened with exclusion from the school over what the school is claiming is a breach of the uniform standards.

The dad said his older child, who is 15 and in year 10, was told she could sit her GCSE exam but would be sent home afterwards. 

He said: “They have a right to an education and the head also tried to tell me it was a health and safety risk. It’s totally pathetic. They say they want them to look smart but they’ll not have any smart kids if they do not get an education.” 

Kevin Price, of Caldicot, collected his daughter from school over the length of her skirt and said he was told up to 200 pupils had been denied entry to classes. He said pupils and parents were in tears. 

Mr Price demanded the school provide him, in writing, the reason his daughter was being denied an education and said: “I’ve told them emotional harm is being caused to children today and none of them have raised their voice against it.” 

Dad Kevin Price said the uniform crackdown at Caldicot School is causing “emotional harm” to children (Pic: LDRS)

Councillor Rachel Garrick, Labour councillor for Caldicot, said she was concerned a series of uniform standards, related to make up, nails, and skirts, is targeted at girls and threatening them with removal of their education. 

She said: “I always get concerned at a list of reasons to remove education from children that appears focused on gender. 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 this morning, 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 this morning.

“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.”