A school that was forced to close after protests over a ban on school skirts led to police being called has U-turned on its uniform policy.
Police were called to The Warriner School on Friday, February 25, to break up a “disturbance” after new uniform rules banning skirts and introducing a “gender neutral” PE kit, to come into force in September, were announced.
The co-ed secondary in Banbury, Oxon, with 1,500 pupils aged 11 to 18, was shut for the day after angry pupils staged a mutiny against the new rules and dozens of parents backed them.
The disturbance came amid a spate of school protests, reportedly inspired by a trend on the social media site TikTok.
Now the school has backed down, saying it has reversed its decision to enforce a gender-neutral uniform policy.
The Warriner has now confirmed there will be no changes to the uniform policy “without further consultation involving the whole school community” because it was “concerned about any further disruption to school and students being able to continue their studies”.
‘Punishing girls for wanting to be girls’
On the school’s website, Dr Annabel Kay, the executive headteacher, apologised for “underestimating the strength of feeling on this issue” and “not properly engaging or consulting with all parents and students”.
She added: “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.
“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 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.”
Parents criticised the old policy, with one person saying: “It feels like they are punishing girls for wanting to be girls, and that doesn’t feel inclusive.”
Another parent said he “will not be acknowledging your school uniform update and my daughter will continue to wear skirts and other female clothing to school”.
He called the letter “nonsense” and “anti-female” and demanded the teachers at the school organise a meeting with parents and reverse the decision “along with an apology for the incredibly hurtful letter”.