A hole lot of trouble over school shoes

St Hild's School pupil Andrew Fenny with his mum Sue outside the school
St Hild's School pupil Andrew Fenny with his mum Sue outside the school

A FURIOUS mum took her teenage son out of school after he was isolated from other pupils for wearing trainers because his shoes had fallen apart – despite her alerting staff to the problem.

Andrew Fenny, 16, went to put his shoes on when he noticed the damaged sole, meaning that he was unable to wear them to St Hild’s C of E School, in Hartlepool’s King Oswy Drive, in the snowy conditions on Wednesday.

Instead the Year 11 pupil wore his trainers, which were black with a white trim.

School bosses say they have a strict policy stating pupils cannot wear trainers and they have high standards and expectations, which they have no intention of lowering.

Mum Susan knew the school had a no-trainer policy and had called on Wednesday morning to forewarn staff that Andrew was wearing trainers until she had chance to buy new shoes later that day.

She was told Andrew faced being educated separately if he wore trainers–- to the dismay of his mum – who took him home after 90 minutes in school.

His mum, who lives in Tavistock Close, Clavering, with husband Robert, and other children, 18-year-old Lara, Rachael, 13, and 11-year-old Matthew, said Andrew, who returned to school yesterday, had even taken the damaged shoes in to show staff.

Andrew’s parents have hit out at the “ridiculous” stance. But staff say the policy is very clear.

Susan, 43, a nurse, said: “I called on the morning to say what had happened to his shoes and that there was no way he could wear them.

“The reception warned that he might have to go into isolation, but I didn’t want him missing any school.

“I just think it is unfair for the sake of one day and it left me feeling really angry.

“I understand about keeping up standards, but to me it was just ridiculous and petty.”

School headteacher Colin Reid said: “We have a very clear policy – of which all parents are aware – that all our students must attend school in full school uniform at all times otherwise they will be educated separately from the other pupils.

“Therefore when Andrew came into school wearing trainers, arrangements were made for him to study the same material as his fellow students that day, but in a separate office where there are other school staff.

“He was certainly not left in isolation or unsupervised.

“However, he refused to collect or do the work assigned to him.

“When Mrs Fenny arrived at the school later in the morning with his shoes, we made it clear to her that although the sole was damaged we saw no reason why Andrew could not wear them throughout the day, returning to lessons with his fellow students and remaining indoors for the rest of the time.

“However, Andrew refused categorically to wear the shoes and at this point Mrs Fenny removed him from school.

“We are saddened that Mrs Fenny took this course of action as we were keen for Andrew to stay at school.

“However, one of the reasons St Hild’s is the second highest performing secondary school in the town is its high standards and its high expectations of its students and we have no intention of lowering those standards.”

Dad Robert, 47, added: “Andrew was just cheesed off and really annoyed because nobody likes to be taken out of class.

“We tried to do the right thing and got punished.”