‘RADICAL’ new uniform rules at a troubled Oxford school have been branded ‘ridiculous’ by a parent, whose son was among those sent home for wearing black trousers.

St Gregory the Great Catholic School in East Oxford implemented strict changes to its uniform this term, banning trainers and ordering pupils to wear navy trousers or skirts bearing the school’s initials.

Mum Rachel Jones claims parents were not warned about the new policy, and said she counted about 80 children herded into the school hall on Monday, who she understood were being sent home - although the school has disputed this figure.

Her 12-year-old son Marshall was among those forced to leave for wearing black trousers and plain black trainers, which were allowed last year, and he was off school until Thursday while she unsuccessfully scouted the city for the right dark blue pair.

Full-time-mum Miss Jones, 43, said: “It’s ridiculous. The school is a joke.

"I asked so many parents and we've never heard of this before. We hadn't got an email or a letter. If we had then why would near enough 100 kids still not have them?"

Referring to the accepted trousers that cost as much as £24, Miss Jones added: "People can't afford to keep chopping and changing.

"What does it matter if the trousers are blue or black, as long as the kids are being educated? It's really not important."

The mum-of-three of Barracks Lane, Cowley, said she had 'had it up to here' with the school in Cricket Road, highlighting problems with bullying.

All-through school St Greg’s, which has 1,370 pupils, was plunged into special measures in May after a scathing Ofsted report rated it ‘inadequate’.

On the school's website there is a letter dated July 5 which explains the uniform changes, and states pupils will be sent home if they do not comply.

But Miss Jones said it was not circulated and that parents cannot be expected to monitor the website waiting for updates.

Vanessa Lashbrook, who has twin boys aged 14 at the school, said her sons were taken aside last week after showing up in black Nike Air Max trainers. 

Oxford Mail:

Above: The plain black trainers previously accepted by the school 

The 38-year-old, who lives in Cowley, said: “They got pulled up and given a talk about the new uniform.

"It shouldn’t be an issue: they were allowed any other year and the school has now decided its main focus is going to be uniform. Why should it make a difference?”

The mum-of-three, whose youngest child also goes to St Greg’s, said the school had not made the footwear changes clear. 

She said: “I’ve got every email and text we were send and at no time did it say no trainers - it just says ‘black school shoes’.”

Miss Lashbrook said she did receive an email about the change to navy trousers, but noted she knew other parents on the mailing list who were not notified.

Elizabeth Lutzeier, a national leader in education, was drafted in to help turn the school around.

She insisted a letter was sent to parents via email about the uniform changes and said only a 'small number' of children were sent home on Monday, although she could not give an exact figure.

Mrs Lutzeier said: "We are a new school - we absolutely had to be after the Ofsted. When I first arrived, a huge number of children - about 90 per cent - were wearing black skinny jeans and trainers. We had to make radical changes. If you look the business, you deliver.

"Members of staff have absolutely bent over backwards to facilitate this with parents to find the right trousers.

“We have two uniform sellers and if parents couldn't find the right size, a staff member has allowed parents to bring in a pair of trousers for her to vet and arrange to get the school logo on.

"We now have a lot of lovely, smart children who feel very proud of themselves.”

Suppliers Stevensons and Brigade are both currently out of stock, with no deliveries expected until October at Stevensons and a 21 working day wait at Brigade.

Mrs Lutzeier admitted there were ‘about 60’ pupils, mostly Year 10s, who were taken aside on Monday for flouting the rules.

She suggested it was more of a 'student protest' and most of them had managed to acquire the correct trousers but chosen not to wear them.

She added: "We certainly did not send 80 children home. We contacted parents to say 'your child has turned up in the wrong trousers and we are sending them home, can you send them back straight away in the right clothes'.

"I can't stress enough how hard staff have worked to help parents who have had any difficulties. There is no reason why people should not have the correct uniform."

Asked why children could not wear smart black trousers instead of navy, she said: "I wasn't associated with that choice but it looks lovely.

"We do apologise to parents who sent their children to school in regulation [black] school trousers last year. It's a very small number but we do feel bad that although they've done the right thing in the past couple of years, they've had to go out and buy new trousers."

She said most pupils were pleased with the changes, adding: "The picture we are getting now is of a much happier, calmer school."