West Sussex mum furious that ‘old fashioned’ school uniform is pressuring daughter

Holly Valentine said Tanbridge House School in Horsham is 'not living in the 21st century'. Photo courtesy of Holly Valentine
Holly Valentine said Tanbridge House School in Horsham is 'not living in the 21st century'. Photo courtesy of Holly Valentine

A West Sussex mum is fuming after she said her daughter was threatened with isolation if she doesn’t change her school uniform.

Holly Valentine, who lives in Broadbridge Heath, said Tanbridge House School in Horsham had threatened to punish her daughter Bria if she didn’t change her school trousers.

Bria, 13, had chosen to wear trousers rather than a shin length skirt, a new requirement this academic year, but the mum said staff at the school said the trousers were the wrong style.

Tanbridge House says parents are welcome to contact the school to discuss any concerns, and said parents had been invited to liaise over the uniform changes since April.

Holly fumed: “Children have enough pressure at school. I’m completely fed up with it.

“[Staff at the school] were particular about how short the trousers could be, how tight the trousers could be.

“They’re not living in the 21st century.

“It’s old fashioned. Very, very conservative. They have gone backwards.”

Holly called for a more relaxed uniform policy. She said the school should be focused on education, not policing its uniform.

She added: “We only want what’s best for our children.

“They all have a lot of pressure when they get to secondary school. They should be concentrating on their classes.

“I feel like this new added pressure has made it a lot harder for children to be able to get on and enjoy school.”

Holly said the pressures of social media had made young people more conscious of their appearance.

She added: “They’re comparing themselves against all these other people and you have a school that’s not being sensitive.

“Girls feel a lot of pressure about how they should look. It’s hard for them.

“[The uniform restrictions are] making them feel not very good about themselves.”

Bria, who Holly said is a ‘model student’, is entering a ‘serious time’ at school.

Holly added: “She does her homework she does not get detentions.

“I just feel that going into year nine - it’s very important from here on in.

“[Pupils] should not have to worry about things like this.”

Holly said she hoped that the ‘outstanding’ school would take a more relaxed approach to its students, which are doing ‘very, very well’.

Headteacher of Tanbridge House School, Jules White, said: “We are very proud of the smart appearance of all our students.

“If any parent has a concern they are most welcome to contact their child’s leader of year to discuss it.

“The opportunity to liaise with our school on this matter has been available since April 2019.

“Tanbridge House has the highest standards of care, behaviour and academic performance and that’s why we had over 440 first choice preference for 300 places in year seven.”

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