Angry parents claim children are being told by their school to prove their tans are real and not make-up and are also being put in isolation for having too short skirts.

Strict enforcement of uniform and appearance rules at Aberdare Community School has also led to large numbers of pupils being put in isolation or sent home to change in the first two weeks of term, mums and dads said.

Gemma Thomas, from Aberdare is mother of two girls aged 12 and 15, at the school.

She said her older daughter was put in isolation after being told one skirt was too short and another the wrong material. When she tried trousers she was told they were too tight around the thighs.

“The first day back my 15-year-old daughter spent the entire day in isolation from 10am to 3pm. They don’t give them work, they just have to sit and be quiet."

Aberdare Community school exterior. Pic Rob Browne

She added: “She’s been in isolation two or three times now since the start of term because they say her uniform does not conform because they say her skirt is too short -  but it does come to her knee.

“The second time they told her her trousers were too tight on the thighs and on the third day they said her skirt was not the right material.

“One of the skirts I bought in Howells in Mountain Ash, which is the regulation skirt supplier, but they said it’s too short. The other skirt, which I bought in Asda, they said is the wrong material.

“My daughter also told me girls are being told to stop and wipe their faces to prove their tans are not make up. I’ve been told they are making girls prove it’s real tan and prove they’ve been on holiday.”

Emma Blayney said her 15-year-old daughter couldn’t get a regulation skirt long enough that also fits her waist.

“My daughter had isolation all day on Monday for her skirt being too short when it’s just above the knee. It’s from the shop they ask you to go to as well. She’s being punished for having long legs.

“I rang the school five times on Monday as she had the Howells skirt on in the longest they do. They are not thinking about different body shapes and are going to make these children so self conscious.

“She hated it in isolation, hated just sitting in silence. It really upset her being there. It’s like a prison not a school.”

Samantha Rogers said her daughter Emily Seymour, 14, was also put in isolation for having the wrong skirt, but claimed teachers disagreed on what was allowed and what not.

“I had a phone call to say my daughter’s skirt was too short," she added.

"I explained to the teacher that after trying a number of skirts we chose the one from the longer length section because she is nearly 15 years-old but with the waist of a nine to 10 year-old this was going to have an impact on the length of her skirt.

“Ten minutes later I had another phone call to say they had re-checked her skirt and it was actually OK but she had to stay in isolation. Ten minutes later I had another phone call off a different teacher to say her skirt was too short."

Aberdare Community School
Aberdare Community School

Rob Uprichard, whose son is in the school’s sixth form, said his cousin’s daughter was put in isolation for having a tan which the school claimed was fake tan.

He said: “She would have been in isolation all week but her father went to the school. Isolation is just being stuck in a room all day. She’s been off all week.

“She had to prove her tan came from a holiday abroad.”

A notice on the school’s website reads: “A reminder that skirts must be knee length or alternatively pupils can wear tailored trousers.

“Thank you for your continued support.”

When asked about rules on uniform and fake tan, the school said: “The governing body of the school have adopted clear school uniform policy which has been communicated with pupils and parents regularly in readiness for the new school year.

“The policy in relation to skirt length is clear and states that skirts should be straight, black and knee length.

“As with all school policies, there is a graduated response if pupils don’t conform to the schools expectations.

“The governing body of the school are committed to raising standards and have high expectations for all learners at the school.”

The £50m super-school which opened in 2014 , replaced Aberdare High, Aberdare Girls’ School and Blaengwawr Comprehensive school.

At its first and most recent inspection in May 2018, inspectors said standards and progress at the 1,300-pupil school did not compare suitably to similar schools.

Wellbeing and attitudes to learning were ranked unsatisfactory and in need of urgent improvement. The four other areas looked at - teaching and learning experiences, care, support and guidance, leadership and management and standards were rated “adequate and in need of improvement”.