Pupils stage protest in school playground over 'racist' uniform policy

The sixth former students at Pimlico Academy in central London are angry the school has banned afro haircuts as they say they could “block the views” of other pupils in the class. Parents and pupils are also unhappy students in years 12 and 13 must now wear “formal business suits,” reports My London.

In response to the haircut policy introduced at the start of this academic year, one female student said: “[The new policy] is racist because it says haircuts that ‘block views’, but that implies afros.”

“It’s meant to represent the workplace but this is more strict than any normal office, and a lot of people are going to keep working from home anyway.”

Pictures emerged today of sixth form students staging the sit-in today – the last day of term – during which they chanted “we want change”.

But the school, rated as Outstanding by Ofsted, insists it promotes diversity.

Future Academies, which runs it, said: “Future Academies are based in areas of deprivation and disadvantage to enhance the life-chances of children.

“We have the highest aspirations for our students and are committed to ensuring that they all grow up to be respectful of others, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, age, disability or religious belief, and that each feels respected and safe. The current uniform and equipment policy has removed all gender-specific elements.”

Pupils, though, also stated they’re upset about a ban on headscarves of any colour except black, and rules about whether pupils who wear them could have their hair showing.

According to reports in The Guardian today, up to 30 members of staff are considering leaving the school, which is in posh Pimlico, central London.

Roli Okorodudu, whose daughter is in Pimlico Academy’s Year 13 cohort, said: “My daughter is doing her A levels and it’s a tough time for them. With everything to do with sexual harassment cases in different schools, the young lady who was killed in Clapham Common, Black Lives Matter and all the lockdowns, it’s been really tough.

“The students don’t feel like they’re being listened to on these issues that have been bubbling under at the school all year. They feel frustrated and disempowered, and what does that do for them once they leave school?”

Meanwhile, one parent, Christine Tuffin, said she has twice had rows with the school’s senior leadership over her Year-9 daughter’s shoes.

“My daughter missed a whole week of school because they wouldn’t let her come in with black trainers. She can’t wear hard-heeled shoes because she has short tendons on the backs of her feet. So the doctor recommends she wears trainers otherwise her feet don’t come out in blisters.

“I have twice had to show them doctor’s notes and the old principal refused to talk to parents about anything to do with uniform.”

Liza Begum, a former Pimlico Academy pupil and Labour’s candidate for the upcoming Churchill ward councillor by-election, went to the protests this morning and saw children “demonstrating peacefully”.

She said: “I spoke to children this morning and they were upset about Black History Month being removed from the history curriculum, and subjects about ethnic minorities being removed.

“I was watching the demonstration today and it was a peaceful event. I’m proud of the students who have taken direct action.”

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