Last week, prior to taking a look at an art exhibition put together by Ryde Academy Sixth Form pupils, OnTheWight sat down with Principal of Ryde Academy, Dr Rory Fox.
Readers of local news, as well as national, will’ve seen details of the crackdown on school uniform led by Dr Fox at Ryde Academy on 17th June.
The views of parents and pupils have been widely covered in the press in the last two weeks, but OnTheWight hadn’t seen much from Dr Fox as to his thinking behind the crackdown. The main purpose of our discussion last week was to delve deeper into the background to ‘D-Day’ (dress day) at the school which has around 1,000 pupils.
Series of questions
During our 40 minute interview, we posed a number of questions to Dr Fox including:
- Availability issues of uniform with local suppliers
- Instigating crackdown so close to summer holidays
- Did he expect the level of reaction?
- Is the philosophy behind the crackdown tied to rules?
- What are the specific rules on types of footwear?
- What was the sequence of events on D-Day?
- How were pupils with incorrect uniform identified?
- What was reaction of pupils?
- What impact has crackdown had on pupil behaviour and attendance?
- Was it a marketing exercise targeted at future parents?
- Have teachers been spoken to about their attire?
- Anticipated specific improvements following Ofsted reports
- What happens with children below ‘C’ grade
- Have penalties been issued for pupils not sitting correctly?
- Where is the space for self expression in pupils?
- Recruitment of new teachers
Students under peer pressure
During our discussion Dr Fox explained that some of the girls said they felt under pressure to wear their skirts shorter than they wanted to.
He said that two pupils had initially expressed concerns and when the school started to ask questions, others said that they too, had come under pressure.
“When we became aware that some students were being essentially bullied over the length of their skirts we thought we have to act.”
Discrepancy in number of pupils affected by crackdown
In the last two weeks, some media reports stated that over 250 girls had been sent home. This didn’t tally with the figures we’re received from the school.
On the podcast below, you’ll also hear Dr Fox confirm that only 30 pupils were sent home on 17th June, with 100 pupils kept in the hall that day.
The Academy have since confirmed that 50 pupils were kept in the hall the second day and since then it’s been just a few individuals.
Listen to the interview
The interview is around 40 minutes, but should be of interest to parents and pupils of the school.
(Now updated to remove Flash player, so Apple devices users can listen)