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Girl, 13, was ‘given detention for refusing to wear blazer in 29C heat’

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Caitlin Williams was sweltering in the 29C heat at Aberdare Community School in south Wales and said she took off her black blazer. However, the 13-year-old girl was allegedly told to attend a detention after school for doing so. She also claims she was given a second detention for again refusing to wear her blazer in the heat the very next day.

Her furious mum Nikayla Johns, 30, said Caitlin was feeling unwell due to the heat on the first day – Tuesday – and was desperate to keep cool.

“I asked her what happened and she said she was too hot and felt really sick. She said she told them she suffered from nosebleeds and migraines. The teacher then basically said it’s tough, it’s the school’s policy,” Nikayla told Wales Online.

“She told me she had detention and I wondered why because she’s not naughty. She told me it was because she wouldn’t put her blazer on because she was boiling.

“But she was bad when she came home after school, she said she had a migraine and felt sick and then she slept for four hours straight.”

In a message sent to Nikayla by the school, the reason for the detention is given as “refusal to put on blazer when asked”.

It adds: “It is with regret that due to a breach of the school behavioural policy your child has been placed in after school detention on Thursday 9th September 2021.”

Nikayla, from Aberdare, south Wales, said her second daughter, 11-year-old Chloe Williams, was also affected by the rule, and returned home on Tuesday with her hair “absolutely soaking from the sweat” and “absolutely boiling”.

After speaking to the school, Nikayla claims she was told if she did not allow her eldest daughter to go to her detention they would put her in isolation instead, which would see her being pulled out of lessons with her peers.

She said that although the rule had always been in place, it had never escalated in this way, since her daughter had spent most of her time at the school working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The mum continued: “If she’d been playing up, then I would think the detention is fair enough, but don’t they understand this is health and safety?”

“When they’re too hot and sweating, it’s not good for personal hygiene either.

“It’s like they’re in a military school. I know they’ve got to wear uniform to learn dress codes for once they’ve left school and I accept that, but they should be able to take their blazers off if they’re too hot. I think it’s absolutely disgusting. In my eyes, they set them up to fail. If they were allowed to just take the blazer off, they wouldn’t be in detention or in isolation. I know I’m not the only parent who feels this way, others have been put into detention for this as well.”

It’s like they’re in a military school… I think it’s absolutely disgusting

Nikayla Johns

Aberdare Community School, which caters for more than 1,100 pupils, was told it was “in need of significant improvement” after its last inspection by Welsh education watchdog Estyn.

It says it has spoken to Nikayla about the uniform row.

And a spokesman for Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council said: “The Council does not have a blanket policy for school uniform that is applied across all of its schools.

“Instead, it is the responsibility of individual schools and governing bodies to set their own school uniform policies, and communicate their rules and expectations to pupils.”

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