The headteacher of a controversial Southend secondary school has told Southend News Network that he has ‘no regrets’ about sending TEN TEACHERS home in the first week of term for wearing incorrect and unsuitable clothing for teaching.
Parents at Malporters Common Secondary School in Victoria Avenue have now been reassured that all staffing issues have been dealt with, but pupils reported a huge number of uncovered lessons over the first week of term.
Headteacher Dr Colin Fluge spoke to Southend News Network about his school’s hard line on staff uniform, and he made it perfectly clear that he intends to keep up his ‘zero tolerance’ approach.
He said: ‘Our pupils have to dress to a required standard, but on the first day back after the summer holidays I noticed that a number of members of staff were not dressed in a manner that is suitable for teaching – this is why ten teachers were sent home.’
‘One member of staff arrived in a tweed suit that he has probably owned since the original moon landings, and a number of his students found this hilariously funny. We do not want a classroom full of pupils who will allow this to draw their attention away from learning, and so he was sent home to find something more suitable.’
‘As a mixed-sex school, we also have to remind teaching staff that clothing should be conservative in nature, and two of our female PE staff have admitted that their build makes it very difficult to disguise the fact that they are heavier up top. We were concerned that our male and a proportion of our female students would be distracted, and so they were sent home until they can find suitable and practical sportswear that provides both the necessary support and coverage.’
‘We also have a very strict policy about visible tattoos, and for health and safety reasons we have been forced to adopt a strict approach to concealed body art as well – this is because our parents have expressed concerns about their children being exposed to alternative lifestyle trends.’
‘Out of the three members of staff who I was forced to send home due to covered-up tattoos, two of them had a small inking adjacent to their navel. In the summer months, there would be a risk of an untucked shirt riding up and offering students a glimpse of the tattoo itself, and this is why I have decided to take action at this early stage.’
A number of the school’s parents were unwilling or unable to speak to Southend News Network, but one concerned mother was prepared to speak out on these issues on the condition that she remained anonymous.
She said: ‘I am delighted that the headteacher is finally cracking down on members of staff who are playing hard and fast with the dress code. My 13-year-old daughter came home last year after one teacher had mentioned a concealed tattoo and she kept asking me to buy her a copy of Kerrang magazine – this made me feel physically sick.’
‘I also agree thoroughly with the decision to send those two PE teachers home until they find a way to cover up. My husband’s eyes were practically out on stalks at the last parents’ evening, and he kept remarking that Right Said Fred had walked into the room.’