AN ANGRY mother has launched a petition demanding a school allows students to wear coats bought from the high street after the headteacher banned them.

John McKee, head of Patcham High School in Brighton, insisted pupils could only wear coats with the school logo on school grounds due to “safety and equality” reasons.

Parents complained after their children walked to school in the freezing cold without coats after teachers started confiscating them.

Parents claimed a letter sent earlier in the year said only school-approved coats should be worn to school, something later denied by Mr McKee.

Mother-of-two Michelle Harman, 36, from Patcham, said she was forced into action to start the petition when her 13-year-old daughter in Year 9 came home freezing. She said: “A couple of weeks ago I started the campaign.

“I had just had enough of watching my daughter walking up to school without a coat – but when she left our home she had her coat on.

“She was hiding it, that’s how much she didn’t want to get in to trouble. So we ended up having a chat at home about it and she told me ‘I’ve been told it will get confiscated if teachers see our normal coats’.

“It is ridiculous and it is three degrees outside and they are walking to school in the cold.”

After The Argus revealed the school policy on Tuesday, dozens of comments were left by parents and teachers slating the ban.

Students wrote how teachers had seized their winter coats if they could not them fit into their bags and would only let them pick them up with their parents.

Ms Harman said: “Also it is about the actual cost of the school uniform when I have another child going to secondary school next year and I’m looking at over a hundreds of pounds.

“An extra £32 for this jacket is a lot. The quality of it is awful. A sleeping bag from Argos would be a better job. That money for something of that quality when you can go to Primark and get a decent coat for half the money, is ridiculous. I’ve left five messages at the school and no one has got back to me.”

The school jackets cost £32 from the school’s approved retailer and have the Patcham High logo on the side.

Headteacher John McKee said the no high-street coats rule was pre-existing, but the coats were introduced as option for pupils in September. He said they made it easier to identify pupils, reducing the risk of trouble on site.

He declined to comment on the petition.

  • The petition is available to sign at