Bad Hair Day

22 February 2018 | Aaron Wise

Another week and another blog post reference to McDonald’s – maybe it’s because I’ve ‘gone vegan’ for Lent and am reading stories about the fast-food chain as a coping mechanism for having to spend my days eating carrots.

But this week, instead of looking at burgers, I’m looking at a school in Norfolk that has banned ‘extreme’ haircuts in a bid to improve its poor reputation.

The headteacher of Great Yarmouth Charter Academy, Barry Smith, made the rather bizarre announcement this week that six male hairstyles were to be banned, including one called, wait for it… the ‘Meet me at McDonald’s’ cut – an overgrown, curly fringe with short sides.

Mr Sharp sent a letter to parents detailing how “uniform and appearance are a key part of developing school ethos” and that if male students continued to fashion their hair in one of the six banned styles after next Monday, they would be sent home or put in isolation.

Just in case you were wondering what the other five styles were, Mr Sharp listed them as follows:

  1. Overgrown, heavy fringes brushed forward onto the face
  2. High-top styles of excessive height
  3. Shaven parting lines
  4. Hair that is teased to give excessive height
  5. Any variation on the Mohican style

What a joke! The outspoken headteacher even offered to show parents a PowerPoint document on styles to avoid!

Personally, I fail to see how a floppy fringe can affect a child’s learning abilities. Mr Sharp may have good intentions, but this is a risky PR move in my book and I’m not at all surprised the school is already receiving backlash from angry parents.

Some have taken to social media to call the new guidelines “ridiculous”, “silly” and an unconvincing approach to improving the results of a school which suffered some of the worst GCSE results across England and Wales last summer.

There’s even been a Facebook group set up by concerned parents called ‘Yarmouth High Worried Parents’, where they have been venting their frustration against Mr Sharp and his “intense schooling and borderline bullying”.

I’m all for being strict on a school, especially one that saw just 30% of students get a pass in English and Maths last summer, but is banning a variety of hairstyles really necessary?!

Surely a struggling school wants to stay out of the spotlight, but this outlandish bit of publicity has caused a storm in a teacup. It will be interesting to see if the ongoing criticism forces the school to go public in backing its new rules.

Also, it’s worth noting Mr Sharp is somewhat follicly challenged…so maybe there’s a hint of the green-eyed monster behind his aversion to the Meet me at McDonald’s look?