The headteacher of Darlington’s Skerne Park Academy, Kate Chisholm, has sparked a national debate after penning a letter to parents asking them to ditch pyjamas for the school-run. Charlotte Bowe looks at the arguments for and against her point of view

THE opinions on both sides of the pyjama debate come thick and fast outside the school gates, and in the surrounding area.

Some parents argue that wearing pyjamas had no impact on their child's education and their main concern is getting to school on time - whatever they are wearing.

Former legal and medical secretary, Karen Routh, 49, originally from Huddersfield, says: “I’ve got stuff going on at home and I was running late so this was the quickest thing to do and this is practical.

“I only saw the letter last night – a friend showed me it on Facebook so that’s the first I'd heard of it, but I didn’t plan on wearing pyjamas today.

“I haven’t lived in Darlington for very long, but I’ve seen a lot of mothers in their pyjamas and I can’t say it’s particularly the right thing to do, but it just so happened that I was running late and needed to get to the school quickly.

“So if parents are late I don't see the problem with it.

“I wouldn’t go to the shops in my pyjamas, this is just because I was running late.

“I don’t think that it sends a bad message to your children, there’s nothing really wrong with it.

"I know what's appropriate and what isn't. I used to be a PA and a legal and medical secretary and when I was going out to work I always wore a smart suit but today was a bit of an emergency."

Darlington mother, Nadine Tanner, 37, says: “It’s absolutely ridiculous – I can’t believe how much attention this is getting.

“My son has been bullied and has come home with scratches on his face, but nothing has been done about it and that should be top of the list.

“Lots of people wear pyjamas to take their kids to school – we all do it here.

“You can’t blame people for what they choose to wear.”

Mother-of-five, Emma Wilson, 32, adds: “I wear my pyjamas to drop the kids off every day.

“We can’t be accused of being scruffy or on the dole – I’m a working mother so I’m very busy on a morning.

“I don’t think it’s a bad example, they know I’m busy and working, it doesn’t matter what I’m wearing because I’m only dropping them off.

“It’s been blown out of proportion. I think it’s stupid.”

But other families believe the school's headteacher, Miss Chisholm, was right to campaign for higher standards on the school-run.

A former employee at Skerne Park Academy, grandmother, Maggie Robson, 53, of Ribble Drive, says: “I live opposite the school so we see it all the time.

“We see parents in pyjamas, but I can’t say we’ve seen them in slippers or dressing gowns. I think there are other issues at the school that are more important than this letter.

“The letter should only have been sent to the ones who do turn up in pyjamas, not everyone.

“The school has changed a lot since I worked there and there’s been a lot of money spent on it, but it’s not just this school or this estate where parents turn up in pyjamas.

“I’ve lived here for 20 years and it doesn’t cause anyone any trouble if they’re out in pyjamas or not – I would go to the shops in my pyjamas, but not to the school.”

Josh Stewart, 23, of Ribble Drive, says: “I think what the head teacher has done is right and it’s easy for people to criticise her.

“It just goes to show that as soon as social media gets involved, it spirals out of control – that’s what got everyone talking about it.

“It’s not just Skerne Park though and we shouldn’t be singled out because it’s all over the town.”

And mother-of-six, Leigh Emmott, says: “It does make a difference if parents drop off their kids wearing pyjamas.

“It’s a bad example to set to children because you can’t turn up to work in pyjamas, you have to be smart at all times.

“As a mother of six, I’ve never turned up to pick up the kids in pyjamas, but other people do and I don’t think it’s right.”