A SCHOOL which punished pupils for wearing shorts to school had been allowing pupils to wear them, The Argus can reveal.

Parents and hundreds of Argus readers have come out in support of the 20 boys who were punished after coming into Longhill High School wearing shorts on Tuesday as temperatures soared towards 30c.

And parents have now told The Argus that permission to wear PE shorts was granted on the school website that morning.

No such text is on the website now.

Four boys who were not allowed to wear shorts were allowed to wear skirts on Thursday. The act of protest continued yesterday (Friday).

Hundreds of the Argus’s readers have responded to the story online with overwhelming support for the students and many criticising headteacher Kate Williams’ handling of the affair.

Lesley Robins, mother of protesting student Jesse Stringer, told The Argus that when her son asked her permission on Monday evening to wear shorts the following day, she checked whether he was allowed to do so.

She said: “On the website it said ‘In extreme hot weather pupils are allowed to wear Longhill logo PE shorts’.”

Ms Robins added: “I think Miss Williams has come on a bit heavy handed.”

The boys who wore shorts were either sent home and asked to change or kept in isolation.

On Wednesday following our initial story, a reader sent in a image of the school website which they said had been taken that morning.

It reads: “In Extreme Hot Weather Students will be allowed to wear their PE/Sports shorts only, with all black trainers/shoes in extreme hot weather.

“Students and parents will be informed of this concession to uniform via notices in school and via the school website.”

On Tuesday three public agencies issued weather warnings and health advisories due to the heat.

Longhill High School said Miss Williams was unavailable for interview yesterday, but in a statement she said: “I would like to correct your reporting; no students were excluded for incorrect uniform this week.

“Four male students have chosen to wear skirts, this is 0.4 per cent of the school population. I have 99.6 per cent of students in our agreed uniform."

She did not respond to the Argus’ questions based on multiple sources which said pupils were excluded from classes at the school in Falmer Road, Rottingdean, on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Online comments were overwhelmingly supportive of the boys’ protest.

On Facebook Stephen Johnstone said: “Well done to the boys! How does this headteacher expect to command any respect when she is such a petty jobsworth?”

And Louisa Morgan said: “Surely attending school is far more important than missing lessons because you are sent home for wearing an insignificant item of clothing.”

But on The Argus comment thread “wardfan” posted: “The point I feel here the Head is the Head, one should follow the rules.”


WHEN 14-year-olds Kodi Ayling, George Bowland, Michael Parker and Jesse Stringer formulated their protest in response to their school’s “no shorts” policy, they came up with a very clever strategy.

The issue of boys and girls at schools being free to wear clothes traditionally considered “male” or “female”, such as trousers and skirts, has been much in the news with the trans community pushing for greater equality.

When The Argus asked Brighton and Hove City Council whether a city-wide policy existed regarding school uniforms, a council spokesman said: “Decisions regarding school uniform are ultimately a matter for individual schools.

“Our advice to schools on uniforms and gender is simply that the rules should be applied equally to all pupils, whatever their gender.”

In January, Brighton College made national headlines when it changed rules to allow all pupils to choose between wearing a traditional blazer, tie and trousers or skirt and bolero jacket.

The school said it was “reacting to a changing society”.

which recognises that some children have gender dysphoria and do not wish to lose their emotional gender identities at school.”

Richard Cairns, the headteacher, said the move followed discussions with a small number of families.

“The college’s approach is different from most other schools that have tended to give transgender children personal leeway with uniform. Brighton College has instead decided to abolish the notion of boys’ and girls’ schools altogether,” he said.

And in March The Argus reported that the University of Brighton was moving to make toilets across the campus “gender neutral”, which was welcomed by LGBT campaigners.