A CRACKDOWN on skirt lengths at the John Masefield High School has been called 'humiliating' and 'offensive' by some female students, who were inspected and lectured on the dress code at the start of term.

One irate parent said the fifth formers were "made to feel like nuns" during the inspection.

But the high school says the aim was to maintain "the dignity and safety of our girls".

The parent said: "I find it disgusting how the staff at John Masefield High school have been policing the girl on the length of their skirts and making them feel like they should be ashamed of their bodies.

"It was the first day back, and they were checking skirts; making pupils buy new ones - and we are not all rich."

The parent added: "Some teachers have also made comments about if they don't pull skirts down, the girls may get sexually harassed. Maybe they should teach boys not to 'sexually harass' girls and women?

"If I am fine with the length of my child's skirt, then why isn't school satisfied? Many of the teachers also come in with high skirts and tight clothing as well."

The Reporter has been told that a number of fifth form girls were upset by the lecture and inspection, with one student says she felt the situation was "unjust, offensive and humiliating".

But the school is sticking to it's guns and is issuing guidelines to parents that "the length of the skirt is important".

The guidelines continue: "As a school, safeguarding all of our students is our primary concern and maintaining the dignity and safety of our girls is paramount. If a student has to pull and stretch the skirt to be the required length, the skirt is an inappropriate size for the student.

"Any skirt will rise when the owner is walking, climbing stairs and sitting down, therefore it is essential that when standing still, it naturally falls at an appropriate length – on the knee."

Students in breach of the dress code will receive detention.

Head teacher, Andrew Evans said: "Ensuring all students dress smartly and respectably is important to us. We have worked hard to take a proportionate and reasonable approach as opposed to some other schools who have excluded students or removed them from lessons for not wearing the correct uniform. We have not prevented any student from attending their lessons.

"In the summer term all students were spoken to about the uniform requirements by a senior member of staff. Older students were reminded on the first day of term and a letter was sent to some parents of students who staff felt were not correctly dressed, for example, with skirts which were too short. The purpose of these actions was to enable students to improve their uniform without receiving a punishment or sanction."

Mr Evans added: "We also understand it can be expensive for parents to buy new uniform and are happy to speak with individual parents if the cost of uniform presents a particular problem or if they wish to discuss any other aspect of our uniform policy. If parents phone the school an appointment will be arranged for them to discuss this matter face to face with a member of our pastoral team."

Mr Evans said that almost all the students were now wearing the uniform correctly, and he added: "With parental support this could soon be 100 per cent."