5ft 10in Schoolgirl Threatened With Expulsion Over Too Short Skirt

22/09/2010 16:11 | Updated 22 May 2015

A 14-year-old schoolgirl has been threatened with expulsion over the length of her skirt - despite her parents' claims that her 5' 10" frame makes uniform buying impossible.

Sherry Austen, who attends Nailsea School near Bristol, was called into a special assembly and admonished by head teacher David New over breaches of uniform policy.

The teenager claims she was told she was to abide by the rules or find another school.

Her parents were then sent a letter saying that if she wore the same skirt to school again, she would be sent home until she had 'appropriate dress'.

Her father, Mr Austen, 62, a retired airline pilot, said: 'What I don't appreciate is my daughter coming home in tears after being told she may have to apply to another school. That is fairly frightening to a child of 14. She said many of the other students were crying after the telling off. His approach was completely out of line and he handled it in a very intimidatory manner. I have no problem with a school uniform, and agree schools should employ one to maintain standards. But they should also ensure the shop they recommend for parents to buy the uniform actually has the garments in stock. After hunting for days for a suitable skirt, we settled on one from Asda which we thought was appropriate.'

Mr Austen said he and his wife's efforts to buy Sherry a longer skirt had all been fruitless, with the official school supplier having nothing in stock, and other stores not having anything the right length.

But the skirt they eventually bought, in plain black and priced at £7 from Asda, was deemed unacceptable, being 2inches short of the required length.

'The skirt is not too tight and certainly not indecent,' Mr Austen told the Daily Mail. 'If it was, I wouldn't let her out the front door. If one of the staff had written and said her clothing was unacceptable, then we could discuss that. Sherry is a very bright girl who has glowing reports and hopes to be a physiotherapist. She is certainly no trouble-maker.'

The school's uniform policy states girls must wear a black skirt which hangs above the knee with a level hem and no splits or pleats.

The school issued a statement yesterday, saying:

'Parents sign the home school agreement in which they promise to ensure their children follow the rules. Nailsea School will never apologise for having high standards in terms of achievement, behaviour or appearance.'

The Austen family insist they will not be buying another skirt.

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