School slammed after ‘mistake’ text says kids not in uniform will get lunch last

An Essex school has come under fire after parents were notified students with incorrect uniform would get served food last at lunchtimes.

A text message sent to parents of pupils at Southchurch High School in Southend-on-Sea last Friday told parents about the new policy supposedly to be introduced on Monday.

However after backlash over the decision, the school has claimed the original text was actually a mistake, Essex Live reports.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council councillor Matt Dent accused the school of punishing "less affluent" families.

In a post on Facebook, he said: "It's deeply concerning to me that this appears to be taking an approach of punishing students for uniform infractions, by serving them last at lunch and break times.

"Whilst I appreciate the importance of a uniform code, I am worried about the potential for this to punish children from less affluent families, or whose personal situations are otherwise more complicated."

An initial text sent to parents, seen by EssexLive, read: "Good afternoon, I would like to thank you for your continued support in maintaining our uniform standards.

"From Monday, May 17, any student that is not in correct uniform will be served last in both the canteen and 'grab and go' breaks.

"Kind regards, Mrs Bale, Southchurch High School."

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However, just a day later, the school said that the initial text was an unintended error.

A subsequent text message read: "A text was sent on Friday (May 14), regarding school uniform and sanctions.

Whilst we want to maintain high standards of uniform, this is not the strategy Southchurch High School uses to ensure those standards.

"This text does not reflect the values of Southchurch High School and was a message sent in error. Southchurch High School is a fully inclusive school that values all of its students."

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The follow-up text was signed: "Allison Bale, Deputy Headteacher."

Following the second text message Cllr Matt Dent said he was relieved, but questioned why the initial text was sent out in the first place.

In another post, he said: "I see this as a positive clarification, and am glad that the school have made it.

"However, I am still concerned as to how the initial message was issued in the first place and I will be monitoring the situation as it goes forward."

Other people questioned how such a specific text message could be sent out by accident, with one person writing: "It was sent in error? It wasn't an error it was a retracted statement… there is a difference."

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