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Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 14:58 GMT
Girls upbraided over 'Pop Idol' hairstyles
The teenagers paid 85 each for the hairstyles
The teenagers paid 85 each for the braided hairstyles
Two teenagers have been banned from class after turning up for school sporting braided hair.

Chloe Hazlewood and Faye Cowig, both 15, copied the style of Zoe Birkitt who has shot to fame as a contestant on hit television show Pop Idol.

The braids fell foul of the rules at the John Bramston School in Witham, Essex, and headteacher Ted Rowley said the pair are being taken out of lessons.

However the girls' parents have now kept them off school and defended the hairstyles.

Extreme or attention seeking hairstyles will not be tolerated

Headteacher Ted Rowley
The extensions cost the pair 85 each and Faye's mother Janie Cowig, 39, said she thinks they look nice.

She said: "As far as I'm aware the girls have not broken any rule and I can't see the problem. Their hair looks nice.

She added: "I'm waiting to hear from the school to see what happens next. This is the third week they've been off and I've heard nothing."

Meanwhile Chloe's father Paul, 40, said his daughter was reduced to tears by being barred from classes and he thought she would do better studying at home.

He said: "I felt very upset. I still find it hard to understand.

High standards

"I asked if it interfered with her work, or with her fellow students. If it did, I would do something about it. I couldn't get a straight answer.

"Do you put a child's hairstyle ahead of her education?"

However Mr Rowley said the rules were clear - all students wear traditional school uniform and hair should be neat and tidy.

He told BBC News Online: "Extreme or attention-seeking hairstyles will not be tolerated.

"We have high standards of dress and if students are not wearing the proper school uniform and are not willing to, it is not possible to allow the students to be around the school with other students.

"They will be taught separately."

'Sensible attitude'

He stressed that Chloe and Faye had not been excluded from the school.

He said: "They are not in school because the parents have decided to make an issue out of it and keep them away from the school.

"We are not refusing to teach them.

"But when you know what the boundaries are, if you're sensible you will say 'fair cop' and get on with it."

He added a third girl who had also had extensions had had them removed within 24 hours of being told they were not acceptable at school.

Click here to go to Essex
See also:

06 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Head-to-head: Pop Idol finalists
06 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol hits the road
21 Dec 00 | Education
Dreadlock ban 'violates rights'
15 May 00 | Education
Pupil excluded over Beckham crop
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