Gainsborough: Parents’ fury over school’s discipline programme which sees pupils placed in isolation for “wearing wrong trousers”

Adele Coupland is angry that her Son Lewis was put in isolation at school for forgetting his PE kit
Adele Coupland is angry that her Son Lewis was put in isolation at school for forgetting his PE kit

Parents have been left outraged by a new disciplinary programme at a Gainsborough school which has seen “up to 80 pupils” placed in isolation units for “wearing the wrong trousers”.

Parents say forgotten PE kits and the use of mobile phones also landed pupils at The Gainsborough Academy in isolation under the “positive discipline” policy, which was enforced at the start of the new term.

And some parents of academy pupils say the new programme, which students have “had to adapt to overnight”, is “affecting learning”.

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One parent, who declined to be named, said: “The day the children went back to school, staff there decided certain trousers were no longer acceptable and placed 80 pupils in isolation, including my daughter – even though she has had the same trousers since December.

“To accommodate them all, they had to be moved to the school hall.

“Nowhere in the new policy is uniform mentioned, or on the school’s website. There is only one sheet in my daughter’s school planner that mentions it.”

Adele Coupland said her son had been excluded from the academy for three days for refusing to go into isolation when he forgot his PE kit.

She said: “The situation could have been easily dealt with, as I could have taken my son’s kit to the school.

“Staff could have called me to ask, but instead they have bullied my child, which is going to affect his learning.”

However, academy staff have insisted the programme, which also centres around rewarding students for good behaviour, has received “positive feedback” from parents, staff and pupils alike.

David Miller, headteacher, said: “Our parents want their children taught in a calm business-like environment which fosters success.

“Although it is a shock to the system for some, we are getting lots of good feedback from our parent body.

“In terms of the uniform – if students do not have the correct form of dress they continue their studies in the school hall until the right uniform is provided by their parents, or we can find it for them.

“Once that happens students return to lessons.

“While in the school hall they study English, maths and science or GCSE-relevant work.

“We want students to pick up the habits of a good standard of dress which they will need in the world of work.”

Mr Miller said the academy has carried out “extensive engagement with students and their parents” in assemblies, at meetings and had later seen “overwhelming support”.

He said: “Students are already learning and engaging more.”