Thursday 8 September 2011

Academy Students left without school uniforms for start of term

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STUDENTS at Bexleyheath Academy were left scrambling for new uniforms to start the school year as parents queued for hours in a “shambolic” affair.

The school started its first day as an academy last week but many students still did not have all of the new uniform.

Around 85 per cent of the students did not have the new jumpers, with many missing ties, skirts and PE kits.

Parents queued for hours at Matthews Schoolwear in Welling only to be turned away empty handed.

Karen Mortimore, 43, of Barnes Cray Road, Crayford, queued for more than six hours at the shop on Wednesday, and again on Friday for two hours.

She still has not recieved jumpers for her daughters Louise, 14, and Adele,11, despite having already paid for them.

She said: “It was a joke, they had no idea what they were doing. It was a complete shambles.”

The academy only gained its new status in the last two weeks of August, leaving suppliers struggling to provide the 1,400 students in Years seven to 11 with new uniforms.

About 100 parents who had still not got uniforms on Monday were directed to the school to try and resolve the issue.

Helen Richards, 51, of London Road, Crayford, spent more than four and a half hours queuing at the shop in Welling and more than three at the school to try and get a uniform for her Year 11 daughter.

She said: “It’s been absolutely shambolic. Everybody in the queue was feeling very frustrated, no-one was telling us anything. We didn’t know what was going on.”

Mike Barnett, spokesman for the London Academies Enterprise Trust, who represent the school, said: “A local supplier produced a competitive tender and where possible we do like to appoint local traders rather than those in other parts of the country. Quite simply in this case it has not worked.

“The sheer weight of number of students has placed too great a pressure on the supplier to provide new uniforms quickly and effectively.”

Matthews still has not received any rugby shirts, about 1,250 jumpers or the last batch of 50 skirts.

Christine Fear, assistant manager at Matthews, says the shop struggled because of a number of factors.

She says the new badge designs were delivered to the shop 10 days late, which meant they missed their allocated production slots, while delays were increased when one of their suppliers’ factories burned down during the riots in August.

Ms Fear said: “We were just trying to keep our heads above water. It was really difficult for our staff working so hard and knowing they were not providing the service we want to give.

“We all stayed until midnight three days last week to make sure the shop was ready to open again at 9am. When we didn’t get the deliveries before the bank holiday we were never going to pull it back.”

Owner Ivy Okedina said: “I didn’t think it would be so manic. Everyone was coming at once.”

http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/9239790.Students_left_without_school_uniforms_for_start_of_term/

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