Varndean parents protest over new sock policy

Posted On 16 Nov 2018 at 4:06 pm

Colourful socks by Lucy Toner

Parents of children at Varndean school have set up a petition in protest at a ban on colourful socks.

The petition, which has so far been signed by 129 people, objects at the lack of consultation and complains that the new rule suppresses pupils’ individuality.

The petition reads: “Neither students nor parents have been consulted about this addition and we feel current uniform policy is already serviceable and often too restrictive.

“Students’ individuality is a key asset of the school and suppressing this through further rules does not benefit the school as a whole.

“Teachers time is valuable and should not be wasted on policing small uniform infringements.

“This would also put a further economic and organisational strain on parents. The uniform costs are already high enough. If a child is in school on time and in full uniform then no further requirements should be put in the way of them receiving an education.”

Ingrid Wakeling started the petition after her 14-year-old son Josef came home railing against the new policy.

She said: “He’s a very academic boy and he’s been constantly worried about getting in trouble since he’s been at Varndean.

“This seemed to be the last straw for him. He said ‘They just want to get me in trouble’. That’s why I decided to take it up.

“The children start to see the school’s job as punishing them rather than supporting them. That’s why I decided to get the kids involved and to

“I would have thought the school has more important things to be dealing with than the colour of children’s socks.

“The sanctions are very inconsistent. Some children have received detentions, some have just been told to change their socks. Some teachers don’t believe in it and aren’t checking, some really do and are checking every day.”

Another parent, Alice Macnair, wrote an open letter to the school, saying: “The policy is unduly strict, without clear rationale. This teaches the children that an essentially arbitrary set of rules about appearance should take precedence over comfort, health, creative expression and autonomy.

“Children are spending time being disciplined when they could be being educated.

“We are told the school wants children to look smart and business-like. Yet in most business contexts, people have autonomy over their clothing. Jobs requiring a uniform are increasingly rare (army, police, and McDonalds spring to mind).

“We will need to choose our clothes appropriately throughout our lives in both personal and professional contexts – why not develop this skill in a safe space, while we are young?”

Headteacher William Deighan did not respond to requests for comment. However, he has agreed to meet with Ingrid and has highlighted a student summit due to be held later in the academic year where topics such as “Why Should We Conform?” will be debated.

  1. Carol Burton Reply

    What a complete non-story. If these petty minded parents really valued their children’s education they would stop badgering schools with time-wasting bits of nonsense like this.
    Let the Headteacher do his job and run his school in a professional manner how he sees fit.
    If that’s the worst thing Varndean parents can come up with to complain about, then it looks like the school is doing a pretty good job. Snowflake parenting!

    • VL Reply

      Petty minded…LOL I wonder who really are, the headteacher? the parents? or the comment…

  2. J Reply

    129 parents complained out of some of some 2,500+ parents. Hardly a news item…

  3. Fil Reply

    Totally agree, what an absolute waste of time non event. How hard is it to just send your child to school in a pair of black socks without kicking up a stink. There really are bigger things to worry about. Petty isn’t the word!!

    • Jayne stevens Reply

      Exactly. Plain black socks are cheap! And easy to pair up! 😂 These parents are wasting the schools time and resources. The school has a strict uniform policy anyway. Black Socks is a problem?!! Come on these poor students have enough to worry about. Surely if parents didn’t make a fuss about it, then the students wouldn’t think twice about it. 🙄

  4. A Reply

    A clear case of Soxism.

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