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Pupils protest outside school

POLICE were called to control a protest by students at Whitworth Community High School over the new head teacher's "draconian" rules.

A message was sent to pupils on Facebook calling on them to walk out and stand outside the head teacher's office on Friday morning in protest over head Maggie Holt's newly enforced dress code.

A crowd of around 50 pupils then walked out of the school and gathered outside, fastening the school gates with their ties, chanting "Miss Holt out" and "We shall not be moved".

Parents were called to collect their children and remove them from the premises, but when they arrived police barred the gate preventing them from entering the premises to speak with the head.

Peter Holt was one of the parents who were called to the school to collect his 14-year-old son and nephew, while his two daughters remained locked inside the building.

He said: "It's been a complete and utter shambles at the school since September. We had to cut little diamonds off my daughter's brand new school shoes because we were told they were inappropriate. I don't think the new rules have improved education - look what's happened, nearly half the pupils have walked out."

Miss Holt joined the school as head teacher at the start of term.

Parents have reported to the Observer that boys have been excluded from school for having "extreme" hair cuts, even if they have had their hair cut in the same style for years.

Girls have also allegedly been pulled up for the way they choose to tie up their hair and say they have been told they cannot have it cut into a layered style and it must all be the same length.

Carol Raby, who has a 14-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son at Whitworth High, said: "I have been told this morning that the rules were always there and this headteacher has decided to abide by the rules. The children just don't like the fact that she is trying to alter things, they were in a routine of doing what they had to do - going to school and getting an education. I believe Miss Holt has been standing at the school gates in the mornings and checking the pupils on their way in. At the end of the day they are wearing a school uniform, whichever way you look at it. The children are here to learn."

But despite the mass protest headteacher Maggie Holt is refusing to compromise on the school's uniform policy.

She said: "Protests, such as this one, are unhelpful distractions from the real business of our students' education and will not influence school rules."

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Posted in: News by SoulRiser on October 28, 2009 @ 1:05 AM

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