Wilshaw: School was right to send 150 pupils home over uniform breaches

A school that sent home more than 150 pupils in one day for breaches of its uniform policy has been defended by the head of Ofsted.

Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said that criticism of the move as “petty” were unjust, and that the principal had been giving the pupils a lesson in “how to be employable”.

Earlier this month, Hanson Academy in Bradford turned away 152 pupils who were found to be in breach of the school’s uniform policy.

The move received a mixed reaction from parents, though the school defended its actions, and said that pupils and their parents had been warned in advance about the crackdown.

Speaking at a conference today, Sir Michael gave Elizabeth Churton, the principal of the school, his backing.

He said: “Earlier this month, the principal of a Bradford school in a deprived community sent home 150 pupils because they breached the school’s uniform rules.

“She was attacked by some for being petty. Let me tell you – I don’t believe that she was.

“What she was doing was reinforcing to her pupils and to their parents that all successful organisations require rules and that if children, especially children who lack structure and discipline at home, are to succeed in school and in work they have to respect them. It was, in essence, a lesson in how to be employable.”

Sir Michael made the comments in a speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in Cambridge, where he spoke of the need to ensure that young people were equipped for the world of work when they left education.

The incident in Bradford, he said, showed that while schools and colleges needed to “raise their game” to boost the employability of young people, this had to be done with the support of their families and communities, as well as from employers.

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