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CHILDREN are walking to school without coats in the freezing cold and rain after a headteacher banned pupils from wearing coats bought from high street shops.

Instead Patcham High School in Brighton is forcing over a thousands students to shell out on a 32 coat approved by the school, which they must use if they want to wear a coat walking between buildings on school grounds.

One 40 year old mother with two children at the school , who did not want to be named, said: “I have a problem because they all have winter coats at home. At that age they are quite particular about what they wear or what is comfortable for them.

“Most children already have their own winter coats and clearly they’re not going to where a school coat out of school hours.

“I’m a complete supporter of school uniform policy, and I could understand if they were banning branded trousers, handbags or earrings, but the coat ban is ridiculous.

“If you go to the school at 2.50pm when they leave school, 90 percent of the kids are not wearing a coat and it is freezing.

“I sympathise with making sure everyone feels equal in school but they are still coming in 100 trainers. Coats generally aren’t branded. I know my children wouldn’t care about a North Face jacket, they probably are more likely to buy one from Primark.”

A padded coat from the school’s approved retailer costs 32. The least expensive coat, a “lightweight” rain coat,
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costs 14.90.

When The Argus visited the school in Ladies Mile Road as pupils were leaving school around 3pm, dozens of students could be seen without coats shaking in the cold with frozen fingers and covering their heads with scarves, as it rained hard and temperatures reached as low as two degrees in Patcham yesterday.

But headteacher John McKee defended the school coats policy which started in September. He said students could wear their own coats walking to school, just not past the school gates.

He said he was dumbfounded how parents could send their children to school without wearing a coat.

Speaking to The Argus he said: “They are allowed to wear their coats to school, it is only when they are on the school grounds that they need to put their school coat on. If they choose to wear a non school coat, they can put that in their bags when they arrive.

“The reason we like them to wear the school coats is because of equality. We are trying to make the school uniform equitable, we don’t want disadvantaged children to feel they cannot wear any coat in and around school because it isn’t a designer label. It is something Ofsted were quite happy with.

“I’ve spoken to lots of parents and they have been quite supportive about it. But there are a few that don’t want to buy the coat, which is fine, it just means losing an option for their child within the school grounds to wear a coat.

“I certainly would send my child to school in a coat . I think a lot of parents would say ‘don’t leave the house without a coat on’.

“It has always been a rule at school, they just now have an option for something else. We talked about it at a governors’ meeting and they will write to people to further endorse it to make sure parents understand why we are doing it.”
the north face cap It's our jacket or no jacket