Pupils Kepier School in Sunderland line up in the rain to have their school uniforms inspected
Pupils Kepier School in Sunderland line up in the rain to have their school uniforms inspected

Pupils at a Sunderland school were forced to "line up in the rain" while teachers made sure they wore the right shade of grey school uniform trousers, it has been reported.

Children at Kepier School, in the north east British city, who failed the clothing inspection were detained or sent home.

The army parade-style check-up was captured on camera as pupils queued up to been seen by teachers.

Parents were furious that their children were punished for not wearing the exact grey trousers sold by the school's preferred outlet, or for wearing shoes that could not be polished.

Kepier School parents said they understood why blazers and ties with the school logo on must be bought from the same outlet, but they didn't see why they were being forced to buy the plain trousers for £15.99 from Sunderland firm Total Sport.

This is because the same style of trousers are available for less than half the price in supermarkets.

The average family with two children spends around £320 getting their kids back to school – the equivalent of nearly six weeks' worth of food shopping – which is a squeeze on household budgets at a time of rising inflation and stagnant wages.

To save on costs parents are turning to large stores such as Morrisons, Lidl, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Marks & Spencer, who all offer a range of cheap deals.

Kepier School said in May it would change its uniform at the start of this month to a navy blazer and charcoal grey trousers.

Turned away at the gates

"We are very proud of our new uniform and learners look extremely smart," Kepier Principal Nicola Cooper told the Sunderland Echo.

"Almost all of our learners are in full school uniform and we have appreciated the support of their families."

Lidl's cheap school uniform
Supermarket Lidl is one of many large retailer's who sell cheap school uniformsLidl

But Deb Pearson, whose 12-year-old daughter Nikki attends Kepier, said: "My daughter was turned away at the gates because she was wearing boots rather than shoes. I had difficulty finding a pair which fit her, but it's not like she was wearing trainers or anything like that.

"When she told them she had nowhere to go, they put her into an isolation room. The whole thing is ridiculous. It's like the children are in a prison. They were checking their clothes for tags, which is just a disgrace."

Another parent, who did not wish to be named, said: "They had no right to line up the children like that in the rain and inspect them. "It's outrageous, and like something you'd expect in the Army.

"The headteacher went down the line with a swatch of clothing to check the children were wearing the correct uniform."

Donna Morris, whose 14-year-old son Aaron attends the school, added: "I got a text message from him saying 'They are not letting me in', so I rang him and he said they would not let him in because his trousers were not from Total Sport."

Morris continued: "I spoke to his teacher who said he had to give Aaron a letter to send him home. They said it would not affect his attendance but Aaron would not be allowed back into the school until it was resolved.

Help with buying a uniform

"I went down to the school and spoke to one of the teachers who actually loaned him a pair of trousers from Total Sport so he could go into class. I just think it's disgraceful."

But one mum, who did not give her name, defended the school saying parents were given plenty of notice about the change of uniform, and help with buying clothes.

She said: "The school gave more than enough warning of the uniform policy before the six weeks holidays."

"Grey trousers are grey trousers and you can buy similar ones from the likes of Asda for families who have money issues etc, however, the school does provide low income families with vouchers to be able to purchase these particular ones, and the same for blazer and ties etc.

"Children who got sent home were the children who did not follow the rules. These children and their parents is what is wrong with this world today."