An 11-year-old boy has been taken out of school by his dad after teaching staff said he had to cut off his ponytail to comply with the school's uniform code.
Connor Wallwork has sported the three-inch 'tail since he was a toddler, and his dad says it is 'natural' to him to wear it, and would cause him distress if it was removed. He added he felt the school was infringing his son's human rights by insisting he changed his hairstyle.
Connor, who is a pupil at Westhoughton High in Bolton, was told he would have his lessons in isolation until he had his hair cut, but his outraged dad, Geoff Wallwork, 46, withdrew him from school altogether, saying: "He's had the ponytail since he was a toddler, it is natural to him.
It would be like cutting someone's finger off. I've spoken to the head and he says it's got to come off. They asked me if it is a religious thing. It's not but it is what my son believes. It's all right for girls but not for lads, it's infringement of human rights."
Mr Wallwork insisted his son's hair was not a problem for anyone else at the school, telling reporters at the Bolton News: "No one else has complained about it, he's not hurting anyone and it's not distracting him or anyone else in lessons. If he had a pink Mohican I could understand it, but it's just a small pony tail."
Connor has spent just four days at Westhoughton since starting at the beginning of September. The school's pastoral team have now visited him and his dad to try and facilitate his return to school, but headteacher Phil Hart maintains the school's uniform policy is 'clear'.
He said: "The school has a clear uniform code which covers uniform and hairstyles. This is published to all our parents and carers and is part of the student planner.
"We ask for the support of all parents and carers in supporting our high standards and ensuring the uniform code is followed by every student."
Mr Wallwork has asked the school to send work home for Connor so he does not fall behind with his studies.
Meanwhile, Connor says he likes his hair and does not want it cut - and says his new school is actually 'all right' apart from their 'problem with my hair'.
Does Connor's hair even look like a pony tail?! Looks more like a retro 'rat's tail' cut to us!
A fuss about nothing, or are the school right in rigorously upholding their uniform policy?