School promises review after pupil, 13, isolated for wearing shorts in heatwave

·Freelance Writer
·2-min read
Harrison Utting turned up to his school wearing shorts, despite them being banned. (SWNS)
Harrison Utting turned up to his school wearing shorts, despite them being banned. (SWNS)

A school has promised to review its uniform policy after a pupil was isolated for wearing shorts as temperatures in England rocketed.

Harrison Utting, 13, was sent to a special room as punishment for turning up to Westlands School in Sittingbourne, Kent, in shorts on Monday morning – when temperatures approached 30ºC.

His dad, Terry Utting, from nearby Sheppey, took him out of school on Monday and again on Tuesday when Harrison was taken into the school’s Pastoral Support Programme room after turning up in shorts again.

Mr Utting slammed the school for taking this action and for banning shorts in the classroom at a time when the country is experiencing a heatwave.

He said: “I don't think it's right the way the school is treating its students.

Westlands School in Sittingbourne, Kent, has said it would review its policy on uniform. (Google)
Westlands School in Sittingbourne, Kent, has said it would review its policy on uniform. (Google)

"There is a blanket ban on shorts but there is no air-conditioning in the classrooms and the pupils are roasting in 30ºC heat.

"At least the girls can wear skirts.”

However, the school stood by its strict uniform policy, but conceded that this may change if the searing heatwave engulfing the country continues, as is expected by forecasters.

Watch: Health alerts issued as UK hit with heatwave

Head teacher Christina Honess said: "We have a clear policy on uniform that all parents are made aware of before they send their child to our school and it is published on our school website.

"We review all of our policies on a regular basis and will do so with our uniform policy in due course.

"The overwhelming majority of our parents are supportive of our current policy.

Temperatures across England are set to reach the mid-30s over the weekend and into next week. (Met Office)
Temperatures across England are set to reach the mid-30s over the weekend and into next week. (Met Office)

"In the event of the extreme temperatures that are currently being forecast for next week, we would be willing to make reasonable adjustments."

The Met Office yesterday extended its amber warning over the "extreme heat" until next Tuesday as temperatures are expected to rise again this weekend, hitting the high 20s and could reach as high as 35ºC.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) advises that steps such as closing classrooms can be taken if it becomes unacceptably hot and classes can be moved to cooler locations, or even pupils being sent home.

The union safety briefing states that 26ºC should be used as the trigger for these measures and that "dress codes can also be relaxed", with many schools that need blazers and trousers to be worn to allow shorts, skirts and the removal of jackets.