Parent attacks 'North Korea'-style school uniform policy after daughter sent home over bag

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An angry father has described a school uniform policy as “like something from North Korea” after his daughter was sent home for failing to bring the right bag.

Author Daniel Culver argued the City of London Academy Highbury Grove should be concentrating on his 15-year-old’s education instead of enforcing “aggressive and unnecessary” rules after she came home upset on the first day of term.

The Year 11 pupil, Beth, was turned away on Friday because she had chosen not to bring a bag with her as she had no books to carry because she did not know her timetable yet.

Earlier this year, school leaders introduced a new uniform policy, which obliges pupils to carry a rucksack embossed with a logo, after it was taken over by the City of London Academy Trust following a damning Ofsted report which threw it into special measures.

Mr Culver, 39, said teachers lined up children in the playground as they arrived and checked every student was appropriately dressed and carrying the right bag. He said Beth was sent straight home and wasn’t able to collect her timetable.

“It’s like something from North Korea,” he said. “It’s not setting the example they’re trying to set. They should be concentrating on the education.”

Mr Culver, a novelist who works in publishing, added: “It was just very aggressive and unnecessary. She’s in her final year [of GCSEs]. They should have been concentrating on her getting her education, not sending her home.

“What’s next? Will it be umbrellas or branded shoelaces?”

Representatives for the academy, near Highbury Fields, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but a spokesman told the Islington Gazette that parents signed and agreed to the school uniform policy in June.

It includes the academy rucksack and an outdoor coat, and warns that infringements will result in children being sent home.

An academy spokesman told the newspaper: “We are committed to the students in the school meeting the highest standards which includes being properly prepared.

“We know this is an essential part of developing a high-expectation school culture, which drives improvement and attainment.”

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