AROUND 20 pupils were refused entry to school at the playground gates for not wearing the right shoes.
Children in year 8 and above at Miltoncross School, Milton, were sent home on the first day back after the holidays if they did not have black leather shoes on.
The uniform had just been changed that day – but the school claims that parents had been informed of the change, and the date it would be enforced, a number of times.
A grandmother of one of the 12-year-old pupils at the school was confused when she saw children walking away from the building.
Maureen Male, 69, from Milton, said: ‘I was coming home from Gunwharf and when I passed the school I saw all these children walking away from it.
‘I said to myself “That’s funny, they’re going the wrong way”. Then when I got home my daughter called to tell me what had happened.’
Mrs Male’s grandson and the others she had passed had been sent home for not wearing the correct shoes by teachers who were checking footwear at the school gates.
‘Luckily he has a mobile phone so he could call his mum, but lots of these kids don’t,’ she added.
‘I can’t believe they were getting thrown out onto the streets without their parents being notified, it’s just wrong.
‘Lots of their parents would have been at work and their homes all locked up. What did the school expect them to do? They should have let the kids into school and sent a letter home with them.’
The school’s headteacher Fiona Calderbank defended the move, saying parents had been told via text, newsletter and email and pupils had been informed of the change in assembly. She said: ‘We did send children home to change their shoes if they were not wearing black leather ones. Some were sent home together and others were sent to homes where we knew the parents were in.
‘We try to be reasonable in what we do – the parents had been told on a number of occasions of the change and the date it would happen.
‘We made the change so that there would be no competition between names and brands and decided not to allow canvas shoes because they get too wet.
‘It’s all about maintaining standards. We are one of the most improved schools in Portsmouth and we want to improve on that line.
‘Any issues that arose because of this have been dealt with now and the school has apologised for any upset caused.’