As far as uniform is concerned, yes schools have to be strict over this; otherwise, it's the old "give them an inch and they'll take a mile".
Uniform is part of the overall discipline teachers are trying to instil in pupils.
On the pupil in biology who did not get into the Higher class, as a biology teacher for many years, may I say the grade that matters is knowledge and understanding. A pupil may have a 3 in this, with a 2 in the other elements, but gain an overall 2.
However, I have yet to see a pupil achieve a Higher when they have less than a 2 in knowledge and understanding.
The school would have known this as well. Despite teachers being experienced professionals, isn't it amazing how often the parent thinks he or she knows best? Would these people argue with their doctor or lawyer in this way? I doubt it. I hate to think how many times I have heard a pupil "promise to work really, really hard", yet I am still waiting to see one of these promises fulfilled.
May I suggest that Mrs Gillespie get off her moral high horse and face up to the fact that pupils are often not the perfect angels their parents believe. Her title says she is representing the Scottish Parent Teacher Council. Could I remind her that the word "teacher" is in there.
To paraphrase her: "What does this tell us about the SPTC ethos, its hidden curriculum and the bias of her organisation?"
Fiona Saunders South Mount Street Aberdeen