PUPILS are furious after a school banned beards and facial hair in its strict behaviour policy.

Colchester Royal Grammar School (CRGS) forbids most of its students from growing facial hair.

Despite it being a long-standing policy, an upset student told the Gazette it has only recently begun being enforced.

They claim pupils are punished with detentions and even exclusions if they refuse to go clean-shaven.

Gazette: School - Colchester Royal Grammar SchoolSchool - Colchester Royal Grammar School

“While I understand that schools may establish these rules to make sure students are well groomed, I believe it is essential to consider the diverse and individual needs of the students,” they said.

“Facial hair is a natural aspect of adolescence and puberty, and enforcing the removal might infringe upon personal choices and their own rights.

“The students may also feel self-conscious after shaving which will reduce the students’ ability to focus and affect their mental health.”

They added some pupils are “singled out” which has “caused students to be angry”.

What does the school say?

A spokesman for the school, in Lexden Road, Colchester, said only sixth formers are allowed to grow facial hair, though exceptions are made for religious reasons.

“All students from Years 7 to 11 are, however, requested to be clean shaven,” he confirmed.

The school said the policy “has been consistently applied” and that it has never been queried, acknowledging that its behaviour policy “is, and should be, regularly reviewed”.

It added: “The current policy was written with the support of the student body during the last academic year.

“If students feel strongly about this matter then there are platforms such as the student council so that they can raise issues that are important to them. We would welcome any such conversation.”

A statement posted on the school’s website in 2019 reminded parents “the boys are not allowed very short or long hair or any extreme styles, facial hair or piercings”.

“We respect that it is a parent’s right to choose for their child to attend CRGS, if offered a place, and we would expect these aspects to have been considered before accepting the place at our school,” it added.

In 2019, a school in Bracknell U-turned on its decision to ban its pupils from growing facial hair after receiving backlash from students and their parents.