Blazer gone to blazes

5th October 2007 at 01:00
But uniform protest fails to move headteacher

BLAZERS WILL still be introduced as part of the school uniform at a Welsh secondary, despite a pupil demonstration where one was set on fire this week, the headteacher has insisted.

Pauline Thomas said reports of a riot in the grounds of Abertillery Comprehensive School in Blaenau Gwent on Tuesday had been widely exaggerated. Pupils had left a morning lesson to stage the protest, which was largely peaceful, and returned after lunch.

"The demonstration involved around 15-16 pupils and one blazer was set alight," said Ms Thomas.

"We have huge parental backing, around 95 per cent, for bringing back blazers and the pupils should have got to used to the idea by now. We have been phasing them in gradually."

Ms Thomas said the blazer became compulsory at the beginning of term but pupils were not forced to wear one then because of the hot weather.

"What the pupils don't realise is that we can legally say what they wear for uniform," she added.

The decision to bring back blazers, often seen as old-fashioned and associated with private education, was made by the school council three years ago. Governors have since agreed to it formally and they became a compulsory part of the uniform at the beginning of term.

"The pupils thought it would make the uniform look smarter and they are right," said Ms Thomas. "We used to have sweatshirts but they were quite scruffy."

Firefighters and the police were called to the South Wales school on Tuesday but the incident was over before they arrived.

Ms Thomas said letters had been sent out to the parents of offending pupils. "We need all the support of the parents in this matter," she added.

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