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'Bizarre' frilly socks ban at Gloucester school is overruled by Government

By citizenmike  |  Posted: April 19, 2014

By Mike Wilkinson, Public Affairs reporter

  • Girls at Kingsholm Primary School were banned from wearing frilly socks

  • Lily-Jo Rudge, 7, has defied the frilly socks ban

  • These frilly socks were banned by the school

Comments (7)

Banning frilly socks at a Gloucester school was a ‘bizarre misinterpretation’ of health and safety rules, the Government has said.

It has issued a new ruling blocking ‘nonsense’ health and safety rules such as the ban at Kingsholm Primary School last year, which was highlighted by the Citizen.

Health and safety minister Mike Penning has called for a common sense approach from councils and schools after a spate of ‘ridiculous excuses’.

He picked up on the incident at the city school in which headteacher Jan Buckland banned children wearing the frilly socks made by mum-of-three Tracy Rudge for fear of them becoming a tripping hazard.

She created them for her seven-year-old daughter Lily-Jo and her school friends.

In the last two years, the Health and Safety Executive has received almost 300 complaints from people who claim they have been fobbed of with bogus excuses.

Mike Penning said: “Enough is enough. Health and safety has long been used as a smoke screen by jobsworths who have little knowledge of the law and who want to fob people off with an easy excuse.

“I want all councils and schools to take advantage of this advice to make sure we get the right balance in the future.”

Tracy, of Sebert Street, said: “They never did prove that frilly socks are dangerous. The schools these days try and tell parents what to do with their own kids.

“I’m pleased that someone has had some common sense. I hope the school will actually listen because recently they even banned frilly hair bobbles. It’s ridiculous.”

Judith Hackitt, chairman of the Health and Safety Executive, said: “I would urge all decision makers to take a step back and ask themselves whether a decision made in the name of health and safety, is actually just an excuse for something else.

“Real health and safety is about protecting people in the workplace from life and health threatening risks.

“Own up to the real reasons behind the decision, don’t just reach for the easiest excuse.”

Other ‘bizarre’ bans from around the country have included a school preventing a pupil from bringing in a baby chick for his presentation due to concerns about spreading bird flu.

In another area, small wooden canes protecting daffodil bulbs were ordered to be removed in case someone tripped and fell in the flowerbed and one council banned dog shows from being held in community halls.

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7 comments

  • x__L__A__x  |  April 23 2014, 5:09PM

    Villager1950 - whats wrong with the name Lily? Whilst I was growing up I was never considered a 'poor child' or suffered with my name, in fact Lily or variations of the same name have actually become a rather popular over the years. Oh and FYI my name has never once been associated with a Thai Restaurant - I think you'll find that's just you making the association.

  • spindles12  |  April 19 2014, 5:28PM

    I agree with the headline, those socks are very bizarre! If those girls stood with their feet together it would look as if their pants had fallen down- ugly and unnecessary

    |   4
  • Villager1950  |  April 19 2014, 1:04PM

    I feel sorry for the kids that ARE made to wear them! But then again what else would you expect from parents who name their child Lily-Jo; the socks are just a passing fancy but a name like that is for life. Poor child with a name like a Thai Restaurant.

    |   -2
  • zinboya  |  April 19 2014, 10:44AM

    Mudbox , I got refused a cocktail stick once, barman thought i may top myself, H@Safety he said.

    |   3
  • zinboya  |  April 19 2014, 10:41AM

    Mudbox , I remember some years ago, asking a barman for a cocktail stick, so i could remove a bit of meat stick in a tooth, the reply i got was, we don,t do cocktail sticks, H/Safety, o dear going to poke my brains out am i.

    |   3
  • JemmyWood  |  April 19 2014, 9:52AM

    If every confronted with someone saying 'you can't blah blah blah.... Health and Safety..... Blah blah blah.... ' ask to see the risk assessment that should have been done. I can virtually guarantee one hasn't been done and it's a jobs worth just being a jobs worth....

    |   6
  • Mudbox  |  April 19 2014, 9:28AM

    I think the last part about wooden canes protecting daffodil bulbs is ok..It always goes through my mind, what something like a stick could do to someone's eye if a person tripped and fell....They put plastic things on the top of metal rods, on building sites.

    |   5

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