Bid to keep school cleaner for pupils ends in plimsoll petition

Mother's Day tea party at Suffield Park Infant School in Cromer. Grace Madeley, 3, with her mum Zara

Mother's Day tea party at Suffield Park Infant School in Cromer. Grace Madeley, 3, with her mum Zara Page. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Every child and parent remembers a battle of some sort over school shoes; whether it was style versus substance or finding a pair that abided by uniform regulations.

But a new debate has sparked in a north Norfolk community after pupils in years one and two have been asked to wear plimsolls inside their new £3 million school building.

A parent, Laura Hall, has started a petition which states whilst 'wearing plimsolls may preserve the floor longer, they will damage feet forever.'

The recently appointed head teacher of Suffield Park Infant School explained: 'When we refurbished this facility we realised the amount of mess children had bought in from their shoes, and were then sitting on it during carpet time.

'Children often start and end periods with carpet time, and we didn't want them sitting in dog muck and such like, but we wanted to preserve carpet time.'

Nichola Stewart added: 'We've asked parents if children can wear indoor and outdoor shoes to prevent this from happening. They can be whatever works for the needs of the child.

'We did a lot of research and it turns out the children being barefoot is actually the best thing, but that's impossible due to health and safety reasons.

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'I know some schools in Norfolk also ask their students to wear slippers, but we didn't want to incur the parents any extra costs.'

So far the petition has gained 102 signataries.

'All the parents which I've spoken to have been happy by the end of the conversation,' said Mrs Stewart.

The petition also states that the shoes will be worn 'all day, every day'.

'This isn't correct,' added Mrs Stewart. 'Plimsolls will only be worn inside, not for outdoor play or P.E. or in assemblies, where children will be going into the main building.'

The £3 million renovation of the Suffield Park School began three years ago.

The school now has a larger hall, as well as 16 new classrooms and a total of three intervention rooms.

It will also have a purpose built library and improved reception areas.