Headteacher responds to mass pupil protests at The Warriner School near Banbury
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The headteacher has apologised for "not properly engaging or consulting with all parents and students" but added: "Our intention was, and remains the case, to be inclusive, supporting and empowering all our students equally and with respect."
Staff at The Warriner School said they were not available to talk to the media but this afternoon (Friday) they released a statement from the school's executive head teacher, Dr Annabel Kay, explaining that the school is prepared to hold conversations with both students and parents in a constructive manner with the aim of resolving the contentious issue.
She said: "Today, our students organised a protest against a change to our uniform policy due to be implemented from September 2023. We fully respect the rights of students to protest and we want to hear the voices of young people in a safe and constructive manner.
"We underestimated the strength of feeling on this issue and recognise that we haven’t properly engaged or consulted with all parents and students. For this, we apologise. Our intention was, and remains the case, to be inclusive, supporting and empowering all our students equally and with respect.
"We have listened to our students today and we are committed to engaging further on our uniform policy, and on other future policy changes, with both parents and students in a constructive and positive manner."
As we reported earlier (click here to read our earlier story), the protests organised by pupils of the school were sparked after parents received a letter from the school yesterday informing them of uniform policy changes due to start in September, which stated that girls would be banned from wearing skirts.
There was a great deal of support for the pupils - but, of course, not everyone involved with the school thought the protest was a good idea.
The mother of a student at The Warriner School, Lizzie, has said that her child, who has autism, was severely "shaken up" and had to "barricade themselves inside their classroom" alongside classmates to stay clear of the protests.
Lizzie said: "The girls upset by the letter should have formed a delegate party and spoken to senior leadership at the school. The leadership at the school could have gone about it better and I think there is a compromise to be made, but this morning’s protests were not the correct way to handle it, they got out of hand."
Lizzie has said that while many parents have been vocal in supporting the protests on social media, many parents also believe there to be a significant issue when it comes to lengths of skirts and appropriate uniform and think the policy should be updated.
A pupil at The Warriner School, who wished not been named, got in touch with the Banbury Guardian to express their view. They said: "Personally I disagree with the new uniform rules as why should boys be able to wear shorts if girls can’t wear skirts?
"Despite that the ‘protests’ today were embarrassing and selfish, not thinking about anyone else who for example are doing A levels and GCSEs in 10 weeks' time who are now missing out on valuable school time.
The leaders of the protests didn’t even talk about any of these problems with teachers. I would even describe what happened as a riot more then a protest with lots of damage being done to the school site and property."