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Oban High School headteacher Peter Bain is giving parents and carers a four-hour slot to have their say on the school’s policy about uniform.
In a four-page letter sent out the same day as The Oban Times carried claims that teachers are asking pupils to hand over mobile phones or cash – often lunch money – to borrow school ties for the day, Mr Bain announced there would be a ‘short-life commission’ to consider support and guidance given to young people, parents or carers and teachers concerning school uniform and how it is implemented.
He said the commission would be led by ‘an independent chair from our community, Roddy McCuish, and we thank him for his services’.
People wanting to take part are invited to send in a request to receive a call to share their views on whether or not uniform guidance ‘enhances the ethos’ of the school.
Individual time slots will then be offered anytime between 4pm and 8pm on Tuesday March 22.
He said office staff would forward requests to a trio of note-takers who would record people’s views.
‘A parent, pupil and staff member will act as the record keepers. Your views will be shared when the commission members meet on Wednesday March 23 and will help determine their response,’ added Mr Bain, who accompanied his letter with an option to watch him give a YouTube version of it at www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mHmgDUCGYw
Mr Bain said the commission would be supported with ‘a briefing paper for all participants that summarises the principles underpinning the uniform guidance and the implementation of the school dress code.
‘The commission will be an opportunity to review national legislation and local guidance and ensure pupils, parents/carers and staff can have a better understanding of and share their views about the support and guidance around how uniform enhances the ethos of our school.’
In response to questions from The Oban Times about how the commission would be carried out, a spokesperson for Argyll and Bute council said: ‘The subject of uniform is a local matter for any school (within the parameters of national Government and Council guidance). It is for the pupils, parents and staff to take forward an agreement on a school’s uniform policy.
‘The Parent Council has put forward four members of this commission. The members of both the Senior and Junior Pupil Leadership teams (who combine to form the Pupil Council) were asked if they wished to join the group and four pupils who had an interest and the time (given the demands of their timetable) volunteered. The four staff representatives are made up from the two trade union representatives whose membership exceeds 90% of the teachers. With no non-teaching union representative a long-serving and well respected member of the support service was asked if they were willing to seek and receive views from the non-teaching staff. One Deputy Headteacher will represent management and the Pastoral Team. Councillor McCuish and Marri Malloy, the Chair of the Oban Community Council, will ensure due diligence and fairness in the process.
‘Every parent has been given the opportunity to share their views, as has every pupil and staff member. All responses will be shared in full with the commission members. It is for the Commission to determine the best method for reporting back. A decision that will be taken by the members when they meet.’