Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Too smart for school? Parents threaten to remove seven-year-old from classroom in row over his short back-and-sides haircut... the style that EVERY boy once had

A row over a seven-year-old's smart haircut has become so heated that his parents have threatened to remove him from school.

Regan Bradley, a pupil at St Brigid's RC Primary School in Manchester, upset the authorities by getting his hair styled with short sides and a combover - a style that wasn't uncommon in the much stricter schools of the 1950s.

He has been threatened with increasingly severe 'behaviour sanctions' if the style is not changed - even though the cut does not obviously breach any school rules.

According to St Brigid's guidelines, tramlines, mohicans and gel are banned - along with anything deemed 'distracting'.

Julie Miles, the headteacher of St Brigid's, threatened to drag the Bradley family into a meeting with the chair of the school governors over the controversial cut.

But Regan's parents - beautician Kelly, 28, and father Peter- insist the style is 'just a normal haircut'.

Ms Bradley said: 'Mrs Miles is saying his hair doesn’t comply with policy. But I don’t understand why and we’re not cutting it. 'It’s becoming so bad I’m thinking of taking him out.'

Mr Bradley added: 'They are saying it needs to be the same length all over, but that’s a bowl cut and we’re not doing that.

'It is our decision how Regan has his hair, we are his parents, so it is unfair to keep picking on him.'

Mrs Miles said: 'Regan is a lovely little boy who is liked by all the staff and who always wants to do his best.

'Our uniform and appearance policy - which is linked to our behaviour policy - provides parents with clear guidelines on what is acceptable in terms of hair styles and what isn't.

'Rules are applied fairly and consistently throughout the school and are not bent for individual children.'



A proposal to ban homework in one central Swedish town is causing a fiery debate.

Members of the city council of Hallstahammar discussed the advantages of abolishing homework in schools at a meeting Monday, the British newspaper The Independent reported. 

Members of a Left Party called Vänsterpartiet contend teachers should teach all necessary lessons in the classroom, and not have to assign students extra work. 

"Students shouldn’t have to take home their work and burden their parents with it," Christina Aspenryd, chairman of Hallstahammar's children and education board, told Swedish news site, The Local.

"When the students come home they should be free to do what they like," Aspenryd added.

Aspenryd pointed out that students would still have the option to do school work at home, but teachers would not assign homework. Another issue is working parents who may not have time to assist kids at home.  

"We are aware that children have very different situations at home," Aspenryd explained. "Some parents are not able to help their children. It’s better that all children get help in the classroom."

Sweden has a reputation for its liberal approach to education but Education Minister Jan Björklund of the Liberal People’s Party slammed the idea, saying homework should not be an issue for town councils to determine.

“If this proposal is passed, I will take the initiative to change school laws so that cities will not be able to butt in and affect this kind of pedagogical decision,” Björklund said according to The Local, citing Swedish wire service TT News.

Aspenryd said the proposal will be explored further this fall, to determine what resources would be necessary to make changes. "We might need to make the school day a bit longer, for instance," she said.


Mother says she's prepared to go to prison after school refuses her son, 9, permission to attend her weekday wedding ceremony

Petty bureaucracy

A mother has declared that she will risk a prison sentence for letting her son miss three days of school to attend her wedding.

Clare Whitelegg is furious that her nine-year-old son’s primary school refused her request for him to take time off lessons to watch her marry her police officer fiancé Andy McLeary.

The school argued that the wedding did not warrant time off because it could not be classed as ‘exceptional circumstances’.

But Miss Whitelegg, 30, who works for the police as a call handler, has pulled her son, Riley Bryant, out of lessons regardless.

She and Mr McLeary, 37, who live in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, are due to marry in her home town of Newquay, Cornwall, later today.

She insists she will refuse to pay any penalty notices imposed on her by Clive Church of England School near Shrewsbury and is prepared to face prosecution.

Sanctions that can be imposed on the parents of truanting children include a three-month jail sentence or a fine of £2,500.

The row follows a crackdown on term-time absence which removed heads’ discretion to grant up to ten days’ holiday a year.

Education Secretary Michael Gove tightened the rules from last September to prevent unnecessary disruption to children’s education.

He ordered heads to stop granting permission for term-time holidays unless families could show ‘exceptional circumstances’ such as a family bereavement.

But Miss Whitelegg, who had Riley in a previous relationship, said: ‘It’s absolutely bonkers that the school have banned my son from attending my wedding.  ‘If I had gone along with the school’s ruling then there would be no wedding because I can’t leave a nine-year-old home alone for three days.

'Andy and I both work full-time and this is the only time we could get off work.

‘Riley is an excellent pupil. The school isn’t even holding normal lessons this week anyway because it’s sports week.’

Schools and local councils can issue £120 spot fines if pupils are absent during term-time, although they are £60 if paid within 28 days. Parents who fail to pay the penalty notices face prosecution by the council.

Miss Whitelegg, who like her fiancé works for West Mercia Police, added: ‘I am fully prepared to go to court and I will refuse to pay any fine. If it means going to prison then so be it.’

Mary Lucas, head teacher at Clive school, said: ‘The school will only authorise leave in exceptional circumstances.

‘On June 16, 2014 we received an application for a pupil leave of absence from June 23 to 25. I would have been happy to talk to the parents about this request if they had come to see me.’


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