Teachers strike to support colleague sacked over dress code

A row over what teachers wear has escalated into a strike at an east London school.

Adrian Swain, 56, was fired in December from St Paul’s Way Community School in Tower Hamlets after he refused to stop wearing trainers and tracksuit bottoms while teaching.

Swain, who claims he has worn the casual wear for 17 years, said staff had not been consulted about a new unofficial dress code, brought in by an acting head teacher last year.

Swain lost an appeal against his dismissal earlier this month, but the school’s National Union of Teachers (NUT) members have voted for a series of one-day strikes, which could result in the school being closed for up to five days.

The NUT claims that restricting adults’ choice in what they wear while teaching restricts diversity.

But a spokesman at Tower Hamlets council told the BBC: “While students are expected to respect and adhere to the instructions of their teachers, teachers themselves should also adhere to instructions and requests from their school’s management.”

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