School that refused to let girl cover hair loss backs down after mass protest

A pupil protest has forced a school into a U-turn after banning a girl suffering hair loss from wearing a cap.

Ella Goodwin's long brown locks started falling out in clumps two-and-a-half years ago following her diagnosis of Chronic Recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO).

The brave 13-year-old took the plunge to shave her head entirely for the Princess Trust charity, but was banned from wearing a cap she had stitched the school badge onto, during lessons.

Heritage High School in Clowne, Derbys, has since reversed its strict uniform ruling after classmates staged a walkout on Monday.

Pupils chanted in protest, "Justice for Ella" while waving banners and wearing caps and hoodies in support of the youngster.

On Monday night the school finally performed a U-turn and agreed to let Ella wear her cap in class.

Ella, who takes a cocktail of medication to combat chronic pain caused by the disease, said: "I just think rules should be bent for someone going through something like this.

"But it was an amazing feeling just to know how many people supported me.

"I'm not ashamed but wearing a cap and hoodie just gives me confidence and comfort.

"I would not have gone back to school without it."

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Ella's parents Shaun Goodwin, 50, and Joanna Davies, 40, are now demanding the school formally apologise to their daughter.

Shaun, from Clowne, Derbys., said: "We did have a wig made for her which she didn't like it so she started wearing a cap.

"We explained to the school that she didn't like the wig and asked if there was any chance she could use a cap and a hoodie and they point blank said no.

"The headmaster wasn't even in the meeting at the time.

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"The decision was made by two head of years and they said Ella couldn't wear the cap and said it wasn't school uniform policy.

"They even said 'What's Ella going to do when she gets a job? Wear a hat and hoodie all her life?'

The brave teen, who has an identical twin Mya, raised £2,000 when she was sponsored to have her whole head shaved for charity.

Shaun, a stay-at-home dad who has four other children, added: "We are glad the school has changed its mind but we want a full apology.

"It should never have got to the stage where the pupils were protesting.

"When we turned up at the school and saw all the children I got a lump in my throat and we spent the day outside in the rain and they stood there for Ella.

"I can't thank them enough for their support and the community's support."

A spokesperson for the Two Counties Trust, which runs the school, said: "We are happy to confirm that we have now been able to speak to Ella's family and have agreed with them that Ella can wear a cap and a hoodie to ensure she feels as comfortable and supported as possible when at school.

"We will continue to do everything we can to ensure Ella and her family are appropriately supported through this challenging period. No student has been sanctioned around this matter."

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