The principal of the troubled Voyager Academy in Peterborough has warned pupils they must dress to impress as the school begins a new era.
The comments come from the academy’s headteacher Stephen Munday after a half-term break which followed a snap Ofsted inspection and the sudden resignation of former principal Dr Yvonne Birch.
The 1,300 pupils returned to school on Monday to find themselves greeted by senior staff who checked to see the pupils were wearing the correct uniform.
Those dressed correctly went straight to class while those not wearing the right clothing and shoes were ushered to the school hall where spare uniforms were handed out.
The move sparked criticism from some parents.
But Mr Munday said: “We are insisting every pupil wears the correct uniform.
“Most schools, ourselves included, believe it is part of preparing the pupils to be ready to learn, and also preparing for the future. Young people need to get used to having to dress appropriately for work.
“It sets the tone for day.
“A vast majority of our pupils stick to the uniform policy, but a minority do not.
“On their return to school on Monday after the half-term break, senior staff met pupils at the school gates to ensure they were all sticking to the uniform policy.
“We had plenty of spare uniforms for pupils in stock, and pupils were able to take the correct items and then go to class. We have put a deal together so the items we have in stock are the cheapest possible cost. But we can invoice parents if required.
“One or two pupils didn’t like it and said they were going home, but for the majority they were able to go to class that morning.
“The atmosphere in the school at the moment is extremely positive. Feedback from staff and pupils has been very good.”
However, Rachel Robson, mum of 16-year-old Niles Hogan, said: “Niles said he was sent home for not wearing the correct uniform. He said he was told his trousers were too slim, and his shoes had a red Nike tick on them, which was not allowed.
“He looked very smart and has been wearing them though this year. I had to come out of work to sort out the uniform issue. It is not acceptable.”
Another parent, who asked not to be named, said: “My son was kept in the school hall all day on Monday because he was told he was not in the correct uniform.
Mr Munday dismissed the claim and said pupils were allowed back into class once they had on the correct uniform.
Related: Surprise as head quits troubled Voyager Academy, 21 February 2014