Is Mrs Ellesse right to ban parents from wearing sportswear when dropping off and collecting children from school.

A well-known and controversial primary school headteacher in Southend has caused anger amongst all parents by sending out a letter advising that they should avoid wearing sportswear while bringing their children to school and picking them up at the end of the day. According to the comments from Felicity Ellesse MA, headteacher of Bournemouth Hamlet Primary School in Southchurch, dressing appropriately will allow all children to arrive at school ‘in the correct frame of mind for both learning and self-improvement.’

A Southend News Network reporter has been shown a copy of the letter, and it says: ‘Within the last few months, myself and my staff have noticed that more and more parents at the school gates are wearing items of clothing that are simply only appropriate when playing a game of badminton or undertaking a Zumba class, and with children becoming sexually aware at an earlier age these days this is simply a distraction that we cannot allow to continue. While it is acceptable to walk around a supermarket in this clothing, effectively telling the whole world that you are someone who enjoys taking part in strenuous activity, myself and the management of the school must now insist that parents dress appropriately for dropping off and collecting their children from school.’

However, it has emerged that a number of parents are dropping their children off and then crossing the street to take part in aerobics classes at the church hall facing the main entrance at Bournemouth Hamlet Primary School. This hasn’t made any difference to the attitude of Mrs Ellesse, with her letter adding that parents should return home to change into their sportswear or face a ONE-MONTH ban from school premises.

A frustrated parent, who didn’t want to be named, said that this letter was the latest in a long line of unreasonable demands. They said: ‘In the last year, we have also been told that all lunchboxes can only contain dried fruit and pulses from Holland and Barrett, and only last week we had another stern letter saying that the only acceptable haircut for boys is a no. 1 razor cut all over. Sometimes we get the impression that Mrs Ellesse is only in this job for the satisfaction of introducing non-sensical rules and regulations.’