Uniform row parents will not give up

Oban High School

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Parents are mobilising to have their say on uniform at Oban High School.

Councillor Julie McKenzie who hosted a Zoom surgery this week for families to air concerns about uniform rules said it was a positive meeting.

The online session was organised because parents were inundating her with calls. Some of those calls are from families that are becoming anxious about the uniform even before their children start at the school, she said.

‘The more representations I’m hearing from parents, the more concerned I am getting. These parents will not give up on being listened to by the school and Argyll and Bute Council. They are mobilising. I’m working with them so I can fully represent their views and I’m looking forward to helping find a sensible solution to all this.

‘None of these parents are anti-uniform but the school does not appear to be adhering to council policy on uniform with its current enforcement of rules.’

Argyll and Bute Council guidance states school uniform is not compulsory, although schools are encouraged to adopt a distinctive dress code.

The Oban Times previously reported on one 14-year-old being sent to guidance for wearing neutral-coloured tights even though there was no mention of tights in the school’s uniform policy – the policy was amended later that same day to list black tights as being acceptable.

There have also been reports of pupils being stopped for wearing unsuitable shoes, said Councillor MacKenzie.

Facebook comments on the issue got so heated on Information Oban earlier this month that a new chat page had to be set up called  OHS Uniform Reform.

Those involved are hoping the page will be useful in giving more parents floorspace to have their voices heard and share experiences.

Amanda MacLeod from Oban High School Uniform Reform Facebook group said: ‘We are hoping for more of an open dialogue with the school and council to make positive changes in its uniform policy – instead of us being met by a wall of silence.

‘We don’t want to see uniform scrapped, we are just looking for it to be more inclusive and for our voices to be heard.’

There are plans to post a number of survey polls on the Oban High School Uniform Reform Facebook page to collect more parents and pupils’ views and experiences.

This week, Oban High School’s Parent Council sent a letter to the Oban Times in support of the school saying it had been ‘dismayed at the ferocity’ of recent discussions focusing on school uniform. The letter also said the Parent Council regularly witness the great importance the school places on inclusion.