Everything parents need to know on what the law says on school uniform rules when temperatures are rising


    Here in the UK we are currently undergoing a heat wave, which we don’t often get to experience! However, while many of us are enjoying the sunshine in our summer clothes and being able to change whenever we want, some school children who don’t finish for the six-week holidays until late July are not allowed to wear cooler clothes and must stick to school uniform rules. For instance, a schoolboy from Wales was sent home for wearing shorts and later returned wearing a skirt, and a child from Leek was put into isolation for wearing shorts.

    Naturally, this has angered many parents across the country who believe their children should be allowed to wear cooler clothes during periods of hot weather. Hannah Parsons, Principle Associate Solicitor at DAS Law told Asian Sunday what the law says on this matter.

    Obviously, schools are totally entitled to have rules which require pupils to wear a school uniform.  This is the case across the entire country. The school therefore, has the right to then discipline pupils for not complying with the school uniform rules. However, they are expected to consider a reasonable request to vary the uniform policy, and must take care to ensure that any policy does not lead to discrimination.

    The Department of Education guidance strongly encourages schools to have a uniform. However, it also recommends that governing bodies should take into consideration the views of parents and pupils when making decisions. This is useful to know when we are faced with a heat wave, as children can often become uncomfortable, lethargic and restless staying in their usual school uniforms throughout the duration of the school day.

    So, can the school really send children home for not sticking to strict uniform rules?

    Hannah tells us that where there is a breach of the school uniform policy, either a Head Teacher or someone authorised, can suggest that a pupil goes home. The school is expected to consider carefully whether this would be appropriate though, as they must consider the child’s age, vulnerability, and the time and ease it will take the pupil, also keeping in mind the availability of the child’s parents. School uniform breaches are usually considered minor disciplinary matters; however, in some cases of repeated and persistent failures, exclusion may be necessary.

    So what rights do parents have who want to appeal a school’s decision on school uniform?

    Hannah says that whenever a school uniform policy is in place, a school is expected to consider reasonable requests to vary the policy and in particular when the request is made to meet the needs of individual pupils to accommodate their religion, ethnicity, disability or other special consideration. Hannah further advises that disputes about school uniform should be resolved locally and in accordance with the school’s complaints policy.  School governing bodies must have a complaints procedure to deal with issues about school uniform.

    Often school procedures for dealing with complaints provide for the complaint to be addressed to firstly, the member of staff responsible, then the Head of department and then Head teacher.  The next step would be to put the complaint in writing to the chair of governors.  Once the internal complaints and appeal process has been exhausted, the Department of Education can deal with complaints about schools.

    Hannah also advises that it’s not just school uniforms where rules have to be followed, but this can also be the case with appearance, where schools may also have rules. So, there could be legal implications on when a child has changed their appearance during school holidays such as a new hairstyle. Hannah advises that provided the rules are reasonable and don’t infringe equality legislation or suggest discrimination, the school is entitled to enforce the rules in accordance with its disciplinary policy.

    Where pupils change their appearance in the school holidays, both they and their parents need to be aware that on returning to school they will be expected to adhere to the school’s appearance policy.

    Other appearance issues such as new ear piercings, where a child can’t remove the earrings for 4-6 weeks can also impact on the school rules, especially if the child can’t remove their earrings for PE.

    Rules for the removal of jewellery during PE are quite common in school and are likely to be considered reasonable, as it is only set for health and safety purposes in case of injury.

    Many schools set out a specific policy for dealing with the situation where recently pierced earrings cannot be removed for PE lessons and therefore make way for children to be given another associated task. The school’s policy will often draw attention to the requirement regarding earrings, suggesting that any ear piercing takes into account the school policy.

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    Jet Airways launches North of England's first direct flights to India's financial capital Mumbai from Manchester

    The North of England’s first ever direct flights to India’s financial capital Mumbai will begin in November.

    Indian airline Jet Airways announced it will operate a four flights per week service from Manchester, with a flight time of approximately 10 hours 35 minutes.

    Not only does it mark the first non-stop route from Manchester to Mumbai, but it's also Jet Airways' first direct service between the UK and India.

    International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the new route will “strengthen connections between two major global cities and the wider Northern Powerhouse”.

    More than half a million people of Indian origin live in northern England, while over 100 Indian companies have bases across the region.

    The flights follow the launch of the Manchester-India Partnership created earlier this year to boost links.

    Manchester Airport chief executive Andrew Cowan said: Securing a direct service to one of India’s major cities is the product of a lot of hard work over a long period of time to forge closer ties between Manchester and this globally significant economy.

    “We have worked, along with a range of partners, to create a compelling case for why our city – and the wider North – is a great place to visit, invest in and do business with. I am delighted Jet Airways have recognised this by launching what I’m sure will be a hugely popular service, not least for the 500,000 people of Indian origin living across the North.

    “Direct connectivity to the world’s most important markets is key to creating a prosperous and internationally competitive Northern economy, and a balanced and outward facing UK. This route will deliver a major boost to businesses looking to export to the world’s fastest-growing economy, as well as helping to attract Indian visitors and investors to the North. We look forward to working with Jet Airways on launching the Mumbai service in the months ahead.”

    Jet Airways will initially fly from Manchester to Mumbai on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday using an A330-200 aircraft with 254 seats.

    Return journeys start from £400 in economy, and although the new route doesn't take off until 5 November 2018, those thinking of flying can already book seats by visiting the Jet Airways website.

    Furthermore, the flight also provides a connection to nearly 35 hotspots including the likes of Kolkata, Delhi, Goa and Jaipur to name a few.

    Similarly, quick connections to beyond points on Jet Airways’ international network such as Bangkok, Colombo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dhaka and Kathmandu, will now be available.

    Vinay Dube, Chief Executive Officer, Jet Airways said: "We are extremely pleased to begin a new chapter in our decade-long relationship with the United Kingdom.

    "The new service will bring Manchester into our global network, reinforcing our global footprint, as well as expanding the choice of connectivity to and from the United Kingdom for our guests with the four days a week, non-stop service.

    "With the new flight, Jet Airways will have over 8,000 seats on offer every week, making it increasingly convenient for both business and leisure travellers to travel between the UK and India. This will deepen both commerce and tourism ties between the two countries".


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    Britain’s South Asian community remain high at risk from Mental Health. Does stigma make it harder to combat it?


    At some point in life one in four people will experience mental health problems through a range of causes including stigma and discrimination. People of any status can be affected, but with Asian communities in mind taboos can be far reaching. In the past, such problems weren't addressed or talked about openly. Sufferers would be shunned, families excluded, and any issues would be a source of shame for those involved. These problems have yet to be solved, but more and more mental health professionals and groups are now working closely with Asian communities to help solve any communication problems.

    Role Model Help

    England cricketer Monty Panesar and role model to many Asian youngsters has himself been subject to mental health issues in the past. His highlighting of shame and labeling toward those suffering from mental health problems has won high praise.

    Now a mental health ambassador for the Professional Cricketers' Association, he said: "The cricketing world was very supportive and understanding, but in our Asian community there was no understanding of what mental health is.

    "When you play cricket, you want to be perceived as strong, resilient, able to be competitive. A lot of young Asians came forward after I went public and said, 'we're glad you opened up because it's a huge taboo in our community.”

    As one of the few Asian celebrities to speak out he's already helped to break down mental health barriers, following his experience of both paranoia and anxiety.

    Sharing Voices Together

    Asian Sunday spoke to Bradford charity Sharing Voices whose support for BAME communities and mental health, is making a huge difference to how they perceive mental issues. They told us: “The stigma still exists within South Asian communities. As a charity we feel small steps have been taken, and we have seen an increase in referrals. But this is still like a needle in a haystack, and many Asians are still suffering in silence, due to the shame.

    “One in five mental health inpatients comes from a BME background, compared with about one in 10 of the population as a whole. When services treat people from BME backgrounds, it's important a holistic approach and positive definitions of mental health are used, and that there is recognition of alternative perspectives and understanding.

    “The info is getting to most, but then it is up to the individual to act upon it, eg 'Yes I need help'. “I have tried committing suicide.”

    Another mental health expert said: “Some mental health problems go unreported and untreated because people in some ethnic minority groups are reluctant to engage with mainstream health services. It's also likely mental health problems are over-diagnosed in people whose first language is not English.”

    BAME Groups Remain High Risk

    The Mental Health Foundation told us: “BAME groups are still generally considered to be at higher risk of developing mental ill health. A 2015 review looked at the association between ethnicity, mental health problems and socio-economic status. It was discovered people from black ethnic minority backgrounds have a higher prevalence of psychosis, compared with the white majority population.”

    The 2014 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS) revealed common mental health problems vary significantly by ethnic group for women, but not for men. Research has also shown high rates of suicide among young South-Asian women within the UK. As organisers of Mental Health Awareness Week, they focus on a major issue each year. The group's main theme for 2018 is 'Stress – Are We Coping?

    It's also true to say mainstream mental health services are working hard to provide both acceptable and accessible services to meet the needs of non-white British communities.

    Getting Communities To talk

    Oxford University graduate Shuranjeet Singh Takhar has experienced mental health issues during his studies as he explains:

    “Having gone through difficulties myself during my time at university, I was hugely helped by my house-mates who provided a formidable support structure to help me through tough times.

    “I recall a conversation I had at the gurdwara (Sikh spiritual centre) with a middle-aged Sikh man. I spoke about the increasing mental health issues in the local community. He dismissed my claims mental health was even an issue, asserting it was something of ‘my generation’. Seeing his rejection and blindness to a very real issue concerned me.

    “I started TarakĪ, a movement designed to fundamentally change how the Punjabi community understand, approach, and treat mental health difficulties and those suffering from them. TarakĪ means being forward-facing, progressive, and looking to a better future. We believe by working alongside local and national mental health initiatives, volunteers, and groups, we can make this change happen. TarakĪ wants to bring forward discussion about mental health to break down the negative stereotypes and assumptions associated with it. From this, we can begin to tackle mental health difficulties more effectively within the community.

    “Moving forward, it's imperative the Punjabi community work together to instigate real change in how mental health is understood and treated, much to the benefit of individuals, families, and friends.”

    Positive BBC Vision

    With more than 1million viewers each day Midlands based daytime drama BBC Doctors is well placed to play a major role in cutting back mental health taboos. In line with Mental Health Awareness Week they put together six hard hitting episodes designed to help raise awareness and encourage viewers to reach out for support and advice.

    Story Producer Nasreen Ahmed says “We certainly aren’t intending to conquer all the myths and concerns around mental health by the end of our week but if we can use our regular characters and our ‘world’ to help viewers understand a little better and reach out for any support that is out there and needed – then we will have achieved what we set out to do.”

    Food for Thought

    Such prominent media coverage will do much to get people talking in their communities. Mental Health Awareness Week is set to educate people much more on problems that can be overcome with good communication, understanding and professional help. It seems there's still a long road to travel, but mental health within the Asian community is beginning to be spoken about more freely.

    Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 is between 14 – 20 May. For more information visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk or contact www.sharingvoices.net


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    Leeds Bradford Airport re-brands as Yorkshire Airport

    Leeds Bradford Airport as gone for a brand makeover.

    Following the appointment of a new Chief Executive, new ownership and a number of exciting changes to the terminal all now well underway, the airport has taken the decision to rebrand.

    With an ambition to create an airport that matches the needs and requirements of the region it serves and the surrounding area, Leeds Bradford: Yorkshire’s Airport will now be displayed throughout the terminal.

    Five-year-old Toby Nye, the little boy who has captured the hearts of Yorkshire following his battle with neuroblastoma, did the honours to officially switch on the new signage emblazoned on the front of the terminal roof.

    As part of the celebrations, the region’s largest airport also showcased the first part of its terminal redevelopments, including brand new purpose-built lounges. Featuring stunning floor to ceiling runway views, The Yorkshire Lounge, The White Rose Suite and 1432 Club will replace the current Yorkshire Premier Lounge.

    Designed to offer a leisure, business or first-class experience, passengers have a number of entry methods, including pre-book, airline access, loyalty card schemes and on the day access.

    The Yorkshire Lounge is the perfect place for families to relax and enjoy refreshments pre-flight, while The White Rose Suite offers the ideal environment for business passengers and couples looking for some pre-flight relaxation, in a lounge that serves barista-style coffee and a fully-serviced bar.

    The 1432 Club, named after the runway, is the most exclusive of the new lounges, featuring a specially selected menu, self-service premium bar and a prime view of the airfield.

    The unveiling of the new lounges follows the opening of a brand new Cabin Bar and Beer House while the Saltaire restaurant has been completely overhauled. Works on a brand new Starbucks coffee shop and additional retails outlets are set to commence in the coming weeks.

    Designed to provide a more straightforward journey for customers with a modern and vibrant feel, as well as developing our food and beverage offering, the airport has also invested in free non-commercial seating within the departure lounge. Work is also currently underway on the terminal front to improve passengers’ arrival at the airport, with a new Meet & Greet car-park facility.

    In March, the airport celebrated the opening of its first off-site car park. Viking Airport Parking, situated just off the airport roundabout located on Warren House Lane, ensures passengers have the smoothest possible start to their holiday. With members of staff on hand to park customers’ cars 24/7, shuttle buses transport passengers from the car park to the terminal in less than five minutes.

    Chief Executive David Laws said: “We want the people of our thriving region to get behind their airport and help us move forward.

    “We are delighted to offer our passengers even more choice in our departure lounge, as well as improved facilities for business travellers. We hope people will see this as the start of things to come for this airport. Our brand refresh embodies our vision to become Yorkshire’s airport of choice and to provide an airport our passengers can be proud of. As the development of LBA continues we hope to continually keep improving the customer experience and ensure our passengers feel welcome.

    “We are investing in staff training to ensure we offer a warm ‘Yorkshire welcome’ to all of our passengers, as well as continually improving our Special Assistance offering to help passengers with reduced mobility and hidden disabilities.

    “The more people use this airport the more successful we can be. Work continues to improve our route offering for both business and leisure services and we hope to have more exciting announcements in the near future.

    “It was great to welcome Toby and his family to switch on our new sign and experience our exclusive lounges. We also look forward to welcoming them back in the near future for a VIP tour. Our Fire Team are especially excited to welcome Toby to the Fire Station, as we hear from a reliable source (his Mum) he is a lover of ‘Transformers’ and our new fire vehicles are the same as those used in the films!”

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    Do you think you have the best photograph of the Mirror Pool Fountains in City Park? Why not enter the The Fountain Workshop Limited Photography Competition?

    The Fountain Workshop, who installed and maintain the Mirror Pool Fountains in the multi award winning City Park, are launching a competition to find the best photograph of the fountains in action. The competition is open to all and the prize for overall winner will be a photography workshop. The winner and runners up will also be treated to a tour of the plant room where the fountains are operated.

    Participants can choose a range of features in the Mirror Pool, such as the arching jets which people love to run through and try to stay dry; the vertical jets that surround the pool; or maybe even the main fountain, which can reach 100 feet in the air. In the evening, the dozens of LED lights turn the fountains an array of bright and attractive colours, whilst later in the evening, the four laser lights create a fantastic light show on the Mirror Pool floor.

    David Bracey, Managing Director of The Fountain Workshop said “the Mirror Pool is a fantastic addition to Bradford and we are proud to have been, and to continue to be, a part of the city. This water feature is a technical triumph with over 100 individual fountains, 4984 metres of pipework, and 587,000 litres of water which is recirculated every 3 hours and 9 minutes. We hope that this competition highlights the beauty of the Mirror Pool.”

    Jonny Noble, City Centre Manager says “since City Park and the Mirror Pool opened in March 2012, we have seen on average over five million people using the space every year, that’s 30 million visits! We have hosted dozens of high profile events and seen the space welcomed by people from Bradford, and from much further afield. It continues to be a place of huge civic importance and pride and I am very lucky to have been involved with the operation of City Park for almost five years!”

    The competition starts on Easter Weekend and will run until the 31 May 2018. Entries can be sent using the hashtag #TFWLPhotoComp to @fountainslive on Twitter or @fountainworkshop on Instagram. You can find full entry terms and conditions at www.fountains.co.uk.

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