Boy, 11, told Back To School range shoes are 'unacceptable'
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A mum has spoken out after claiming her 11-year-old son was told his shoes were 'unacceptable' for school, despite the fact they're from Asda's 'Back to School' range.
The mum-of-four, who chose not to be named, said Paignton Academy in Devon won't allow her son to wear the new shoes as they don't follow the rules, which were updated in April.
Alongside being made from leather or leather-like material, the rules state that shoes can't feature canvas or trainer-like material and must be 'polishable'.
Velcro straps instead of laces are permitted, but there should be no sports insignia, logos or badges.
After the boy was pulled to one side by a staff member and advised about the issue on 6 September, the mum sent her son back to school the next day with a note explaining that the £16 shoes were within the budget available to her right now.
She also said only a small part of the trainers aren't polishable, but nonetheless the student was once again pulled aside by staff for the next four days.
Although the school has offered to fund a new pair that comply with the rules, the mum has declined, saying the funding can be used for something better and that it's a waste of the old footwear.
She also said that while she agrees with the need for uniform guidelines, she doesn't agree to uncomfortable shoes and claims the latest changes to Paignton Academy's rules weren't run through a full consultation.
She said: "I have tried my hardest as an honest working parent to provide for my children but apparently as the tongue of my son’s school shoe cannot be polished, I have failed as he must be made to stand outside the Head of House office during valuable learning time along with 30 other Year 7 children.
"I have made sacrifices in order to clothe my child appropriately.
"I do believe that, given the current cost of living crisis, measures should be put in place so as not to put any parent at a disadvantage.
"I would certainly choose to eat and heat above providing a school uniform."
The mum continued: "The comfort of wearing a polished shoe is appalling and considering my son has to walk 45 minutes each way to and from school, I would not want him to wear stiff leather shoes.
"My son has experienced stress in starting his new school which has been heightened due to the continued harassment from members of staff enforcing what I consider to be a ridiculous policy.
"He has been given a 'green card' for this week which means he is allowed to wear them this week and I have been offered to discuss my concerns by going to the school, which I will do next week."
A spokesperson for Paignton Academy said: "In the guide, it was made clear that if any parent/carer was unsure about the shoes, they should contact the school who will be happy to advise.
"The same letter was sent out to all parents/carers in August as we approached the new academic year.
"This was to support parents/carers as we realised that with the new academic year approaching, parents would be purchasing shoes at this time.
"For new students joining the school, the adjustment to the school uniform was communicated to all new parents/carers and through the induction days that students had at the school in July."
They added: "In communicating this adjustment to parents/carers, we acknowledged that footwear can be a confusing topic.
"There are, as we all know, a whole variety of differing styles with some suppliers, particularly sports companies, marketing their footwear as ‘shoes’ when in fact they are clearly not."