Millfield School warns it will exclude pupils who forget pens or rulers in tough new stance on stationery

A furious dad has hit out at his daughter’s school after it threatened to exclude pupils for forgetting their pens and pencils.

By Matthew Calderbank
Thursday, 9th June 2022, 12:31 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th June 2022, 1:08 pm

Darren Worthington voiced his outrage on a local Facebook page after Millfield School in Thornton sent him a text message, warning that his daughter was at risk of being banished from school if she attended class without her two pens, pencil and ruler.

The text from the school warned him: "Good afternoon. Your child has attended school today without correct equipment.

"As per the letter sent before half term, students are expected to arrive with 2x pens, a pencil and a ruler all in their pencil case. They should also ensure they have their timetable.

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The message from Millfield High School in Thornton to parents whose children turned up to class without a pen, pencil or ruler

"Students who forget their equipment twice in a week will be given a 90 minutes Headteacher’s detention.

"Failure to bring equipment three times in a week will result in a fixed term exclusion."

Dad Darren said: "Surely this has to be some form of joke? God forbid your child loses a pen, breaks a pencil or snaps a ruler.

"Possible exclusion! How is this helping the children to learn? Unbelievable.”

Millfield High School said it's 'important' that students arrive at school with the basic equipment and that the rules help to prepare student for the responsibilities of life after school

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His Facebook post attracted more than 800 comments and sparked a debate about whether the school is being too severe with its punishment.

You can read more comments on Thornton Cleveleys Chat Facebook page here.

One commented: “It’s a case of equipment for God’s sake, not bullying…It doesn’t take 2 seconds to hand a child a piece of spare stationary. Their priorities are wholly in the wrong place.”

Another wrote: "What about teaching kindness, sharing and compassion? Has another student got a spare they're willing to share?"

But others applauded the school for its tough approach.

"It’s to teach them to take responsibility for their actions,” said one mum, “to help them for their future and not to be handed everything on a plate.”

Another added: “Nice to see a school encouraging pupils to take some responsibility for ensuring they arrive prepared, this will assist in their transition into employment.

"Parents should also take some responsibility to ensure their children are properly prepared for school before leaving the house.”

What does the school say?

Defending her school’s strict stance on stationery, headteacher Nicola Regan said “the rules help to prepare students for the responsibilities of life after school”.

She confirmed to the Gazette that children will be excluded for the day if they forget their equipment three times within a week, adding that the basic equipment requirement is a pencil case containing two pens, a pencil and a ruler.

This would follow a warning for the first offence and a 90-minute detention for the second. No student has been excluded so far.

She said: "It's important that students arrive at school with the basic equipment they need for a day of learning.

"This also helps to prepare them for the responsibilities of life after school, and ensures that lessons are not disrupted as staff spend time providing equipment for a small number of students who have forgotten theirs.

"When students join our school, their parents or carers sign a home-school agreement in which they agree to always send their child to school with the equipment they need.

"As students arriving unequipped has become more of an issue lately, we have sent a letter to parents about this before half term, and the action we would take if students continue to arrive without basic equipment for learning.

"We also offered to buy equipment for any child whose family may struggle financially.

"As this is the first week after parents received the letter we have provided a pencil case with equipment to a very small number of students who came without theirs, and also contacted their parents.

"We are also in the process of arranging to open a stationery shop at break times, so students can buy spare equipment, to ensure they are ready and fully prepared for the next school day.”