DOZENS of children were sent home from school after turning up for lessons wearing the wrong uniform, with some parents claiming they were told pupils had been "showing too much ankle".

The decision to exclude pupils from Consett Academy, in County Durham, from classes on the first day back after the half term holiday angered parents.

But the school last night defended its actions and said parents had been warned before the half-term break that standards were going to be upheld.

The Northern Echo has been told 55 students were asked to leave on Monday morning.

Andy Marriott, whose 16-year-old son was wearing black trainer-style shoes, said: “My son called and asked me to pick him up because he was freezing cold.

“He has worn the same shoes for over a year.

“Lots of kids have been hanging around Consett in the freezing cold because they are locked out of home.

“Lots of parents are going crazy about what has happened.”

Parents also took to Facebook to express their anger.

Andrea Shannon said: “So my daughter is sent home from Consett Academy for "showing too much ankle", an insidious little phrase that I take great exception to.

“Are you saying that your students can't cope with the sight of the joint between the leg and foot?”

Vikki Willis added: “I am absolutely disgusted that Consett Academy have sent my daughter home this morning as she is showing an inch of her ankle.

“What about the teachers who turn up to work showing their cleavage, wearing short skirts, long knee high boots and tight trousers themselves?”

Parents also took to social media to express concerns about the safety of pupils in the school’s care.

Andrew Kirby said: “It is negligent sending children home in poor weather conditions without a key and their parents at work.

“If anything happened to the children it would be entirely the school's fault.

“If they have an issue with their uniform isolate them instead.”

The school website states pupils must wear a grey ‘business jacket’ with embroidered academy logo, a blue and grey striped tie, black loose fitting, formal trousers or skirt, formal black shoes, not trainer-style shoes, boots, 'Converse', 'Vans' or plimsolls.

Academy black jumpers with a blue strip are optional but ‘no alternative is acceptable’.

Rachel Somerville, director of school, said: “As the vast majority of our parents appreciate, at Consett Academy we believe in upholding high standards and have clear expectations for our uniform.

“We have a uniform policy which is communicated with parents via our website and students are frequently reminded of the policy during the school day.

“I hasten to add that most of our students arrive at school correctly dressed and are a credit to the academy and themselves.

“However, we have increasingly noticed that a number of students are choosing not to wear the correct trousers, black shoes and appropriate socks and tights.

“This not only breaches our policy but isn’t fair to the 95 per cent plus of students who come to school correctly dressed.”

Prior to the February half term holiday, a letter and text message was sent to all parents informing them that the school would be expecting students to have the correct uniform following the break.

The information was also published on the school website and included in a newsletter to parents.

Mrs Somerville added: “This morning a small number of students did not meet our expectations regarding these standards of uniform.

“We are now working with parents and students to rectify the situation.

“It is heartening to receive, this morning, several positive comments from parents applauding our stance on uniform.”