THE new school year began in disarray for some pupils at Chepstow School, with parents claiming their children had been put into isolation or sent home to change their clothes because of breaches of the school's uniform policy.

The South Wales Argus was told some students were punished for not having the correct material in their skirts – despite the clothing being the right colour and length.

The precise number of students affected is a matter of contention – some parents said dozens of children had been punished for wearing incorrect uniform, while Chepstow School said only six pupils had been put into "alternative supervision" in the first week of term.

The school said no pupils had been "sent home", but "the school offered parents the opportunity to send uniform into school, or parents consented to children returning home to get changed into the school uniform".

The school did not provide figures for the number of pupils affected by this policy.


One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said her relative had been placed in isolation for the entirety of the first day of term.

"On the first day I think [pupils] need a lot more support than to be put into isolation," she said, adding: "I think it's disgusting [the school] puts uniform before education. I think the headteacher needs to step back and think about what's more important."

Chepstow School disputed claims pupils had been isolated.

"The school does not isolate pupils, alternative supervision with a qualified professional is provided," the school said. "This bespoke delivery was offered to very few pupils, (6 from 850 pupils) until their parents responded (or the school) provided/purchased uniform."

This is not the first time concerns have been raised about Chepstow School's punishments for students who break uniform rules.

In 2016, the Argus reported on how a 14-year-old girl had been placed in isolation twice because of the shoes she was wearing. The school had a different headteacher at the time.

READ MORE: Monmouthshire mum may take daughter out of school over uniform isolation fiasco

Speaking to the Argus this week, county councillor Armand Watts said he had been told by local authority officers that there were 34 incidents concerning uniform at Chepstow School on the first day of term this September.

"I would be concerned on the first day that anyone was being sent home," he said. "It would have to be pretty extreme for this to happen.

"[The school] is probably being a bit over-zealous. If a child isn't getting the full first-day experience, I would question whether or not it's the right thing to do."

Welsh Government statutory guidance says headteachers may enforce uniform policies, but "it is very important they first try to establish why a pupil is not complying with the policy".

A spokesperson for Monmouthshire County Council said: “The design of school uniforms and the rules which apply to them are determined by school governing bodies.

"The council is aware of the Welsh Government’s document (Circular No: 021/2019) which provides guidance for governing bodies and head teachers on issues relating to implementing or changing a school uniform and policies regarding appearance.

"We understand that Chepstow [School] has engaged with pupils and parents about the need to adhere to the governing body’s agreed uniform policy.

"This is not a new uniform – it is the application of the existing rules.”

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