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Acrylic nails

School bans long acrylic nails, says students are ‘unable to use a pen’

TextAlex Peters

Some parents, however, are claiming it’s discrimination

A school has banned students from having fake nails because they are having a “detrimental effect on their learning.” 

Burnside College, a school in North Tyneside in the north east of England, sent a letter out to parents earlier this year explaining that they were revising uniform policy due to the increased number of students wearing acrylic nail extensions. “Some students are unable to fully access the curriculum and in extreme cases are unable to use a pen, having a detrimental effect on their learning,” the letter stated. 

Because of this, students at Burnside College are no longer permitted to wear acrylic nails or nail extensions and have to keep nails a “sensible length.” They were told they will face “appropriate sanctions” should they fail to comply with the new regulations. 

The move is facing backlash from some parents, however, with one mother even threatening to pull her daughter out of the school. Samantha Fish, mother of 15-year-old Gracie, was left furious after Gracie was ordered to remove her green gel nails before a week-long beauty placement at a college in Newcastle. When Gracie refused, she was ordered to spend the week in isolation instead. 

“These were not some big Jerry Springer-style nails you used to see on some of the lasses on there, they were dead natural-looking” – Samantha Fish

Ms Fish told the Chronicle Live that the decision was bonkers, particularly as her daughter is studying health and beauty. "The school claimed they had to be taken off because she was representing the school, but I think she's been discriminated against,” she said. “How does this stop her doing a job, especially one to do with beauty? It is pathetic, and she was devastated."

Ms Fish said she was tempted to pull Gracie out of the school for the upcoming year but ultimately decided it was more important that her daughter do well in her exams. "As a parent I probably should have just taken the nails off, but that was defeating the object - if you do that, you give them what they want,” she said. “These were not some big Jerry Springer-style nails you used to see on some of the lasses on there, they were dead natural-looking.”

Burnside College, however, has not been swayed by the criticism. Headteacher Daniel Jamieson doubled down on the ban saying: “Fake nails can cause injuries if they are ripped off and they can also hinder a student’s ability to participate fully in lessons which has a detrimental effect on their learning. The school would be failing in its duty if we allowed them to be worn.”

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