Friday 30 May 2008

Maybe We Should Ask Gok Wan If He Can Teach…?

After all, the teachers in North Shields seem more interested in doing his job:
His spiky new haircut left Connor Madden looking literally too cool for school. The trendy redhead was ordered straight back to the barbers after teachers branded his striking new do too “extreme”.

A letter was sent to the seven-year-old’s mum warning her that she had until the end of the school holidays to “reconsider” Connor’s look.
Or what..? They’d call her and her husband in and give them lines? Little Connor isn’t the only troublemaker in the family though:
Connor’s sister Amie’s haircut has also proved a shortcut to trouble. The 10-year-old has a dash of highlighted hair in her fringe .

But the letter sent in the name of headteacher Dr James Crinson adds: “You may also need to reconsider Amie’s blonde streak in her hair. As you know, we have a policy of not allowing extreme haircuts.”
What’s the policy on, say, teaching kids to read and write, Dr Crinson? Because I think that’s what we pay you for, not to recreate ‘Extreme Makeover: Kiddie Edition’ during the school term.
Now, an investigation has been launched after the parents put in an official complaint to the local education authority.

A spokesman for North Tyneside Council said: “We are aware of this issue and are supporting the family to see a resolution.”
You want to see a resolution? Sack Dr Crinson. The man’s an idiot with too much time on his hands if this is the sort of thing he spends his time doing.


Anonymous said...

I've got an idea. Send some toffs in to sort it all out. You could rally support on the internet, write a blog, get involved, feel important. Not a huge job getting rid of a headteacher I guess.

Oh, and then there's all the 40-something Maggie children, with "me" written at the centre of their hearts to help you too.

Maybe ask this guy

to sing an anthem or two at your first rally.

Hopefully, by then, he'll have learnt the words to the Horst Wessel and you'll be well sorted.


patently said...

Relax, Julia. Good schools are often those that create an atmosphere that is conducive to learning, and that includes things like strict school uniform policies - which must include pupil's hair.

Even then, a school is there to do more than just provide an academic education. They need to prepare the child for life, which includes teaching them to be able to present themselves decently for interview (etc).

It's been that way a long time - I remember my hair being inspected back in the 80s. Sounds to me as if Dr Crinson is going a good job.

DJ said...

Got to say, I'm with the head on this one. I just wish we could have some source for this goose.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, Total Twat, you just don't learn, do you...? The NuLab HQ isn't using the 'toff' angle anymore. It backfired rather badly. In Crewe ;)

"Good schools are often those that create an atmosphere that is conducive to learning, and that includes things like strict school uniform policies - which must include pupil's hair"

Oh, normally, I'd be happy to back strict school uniform policies. But minor hairstyles..? We aren't talking pink mohawks here, after all!

The thing with school uniforms is that for the duration you are at school, you can be instructed to wear it, and that is fair enough. However, insisting on control over hairstyles goes too far, as it allows for no choice for parents and child after school hours.

It's the creeping 'we own you' aspect of it that gets me.

I'd prefer it if teachers cracked the whole readin' and writin' lark first, before setting themselves up as the fashion police outside as well as inside school.

Anonymous said...

DJ, note that that policy only refers to dress according to that article. Not hairstyles.

That would be a step too far, as it is in this case. Can you imaging the squeals if a Tory policy proposed that a female teacher couldn't have a dyed blonde streak in her hair? There'd be uproar...

Longrider said...

While the long-haired rebel in me is inclined to agree on an emotive level (I rebelled against my school dress code - didn't we all?), rationally, I have to conclude that the Head is right. It is reasonable to impose a dress code and the law supports that. However, there are caveats; the code must be clearly communicated to all those affected by it and to avoid just this type of reaction, those affected should be involved in developing the policy. The latter point is not necessarily practicable with a school - but the first point certainly is.

Was this policy clearly communicated, I wonder?

Longrider said...

Addendum: the law allows employers and schools to impose restrictions on such things as hair length and style by imposing "conventional" appearance. That's why they can insist that a male cuts his hair and allow a female to wear hers down to her waist.

I'm presuming that the head teacher decided that these styles were not "conventional". Not sure what's unconventional about a dyed streak or even spiky hair, but that's often the trouble with these things; people have subjective views.

Anonymous said...

It's reasonable to impose a dress code, yes. I agree with that wholeheartedly.

But it's not reasonable to insist that the school's choice of hairstyles be adhered to as you have no option but to send your kid to school.

If my office tells me I have to have a certain hairstyle, I can opt to get another job. What's a parent to do - homeschool?

As I said, it's the creeping interference with the wishes of parents on matters not wholly to do with schooling, coupled with the abysmal education record that gets me. Don't they have better things to do with their time?

Anonymous said...

"that's often the trouble with these things; people have subjective views"

That's to be expected; I'm sure schools (and society) are far more accepting of odd hairstyles than in my schooldays, which is why this has been picked up by the newspaper - the kids don't have such hairstyles.

I guess for me, it also comes down to the degree of compliance expected and the extent to which it interferes with your own freedoms while outside of that structure.

School rule that you can't wear earrings? Quite right, take 'em out! You can put 'em back in after school, on your time.

School rule that you can't get your ears pierced? Going too far...

God, hope this doesn't make me a libertarian, or something... ;)

Longrider said...

"What's a parent to do - homeschool?"

Well, actually...

Longrider said...

Oh, yes, dress codes do usually include hair. I've been down this route and fought the battle. I won, the employer lost ;)

Anonymous said...

Apart from that team thing that school uniforms bring to a school and, the bragging rights they get when out on the street after the school has won something; there is the cost thing.

Schools with a strict uniform policy reduce the cost to parents. It stops the "must have the latest Nike trainers" syndrome.

The same goes for haircuts and jewelry. The parents that can't afford the fifty quid fancy hair-do for little Chardonay, complain to the governors because their kids want the same.