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School bans knitted poppies after saying only the smaller paper versions are

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A school has banned knitted poppies after saying that only the smaller paper versions are allowed.Great Yarmouth Charter Academy told 13-year-old Courtney Dougal that her poppy was too large to be worn in the classroom.The Year Nine pupil had worn the poppy to school this week but was told by the principal Barry Smith to remove it because of its size.The knitted poppy flower is 1cm larger than the paper version. Her father Raymond Dougal, 69, said he was “absolutely disgusted” at the school’s stance.  –– ADVERTISEMENT ––“It is a little bit on the larger side but that is what makes it. If it was huge and looked ridiculous I would not have sent her in it,” he said. “As it is it looks lovely. She is only little so that probably makes it look bigger than it is. I said to Courtney to just go in and wear it but she didn’t dare.”A spokesman for the school said it stood by its decision to ban the knitted poppy, saying it was “not appropriate” as a classroom accessory.Great Yarmouth Charter Academy is renowned for its tough stance on uniforms and appearance, which has included banning a series of extreme haircuts including a boy’s style known as Meet Me at McDonald’s. The school previously had some of the worst GCSE results in the country and used to be rated as “inadequate” by Ofsted. But its new regime, run by the Inspiration Trust, has led to dramatic improvements in the last year with the 628-pupil school being praised by Ofsted and doubling its success rate at GCSEs.Mr Smith, who was appointed principal a year ago, revealed that he has been branded a paedophile and compared to a devil in a backlash against his strict new regime.  Headteacher Barry Smith bought in a strict new regime at the school Headteacher Barry Smith bought in a strict new regime at the school Mr Dougal bought the knitted poppy from his local pub The Sportsmans Arms, which is raising money to support the Royal British Legion.John Vale, the pub landlord, said the poppies had been knitted by a local resident and had so far raised almost £50 for the charity. He said that while he supported Mr Smith’s work at the school, he had “overstepped the mark” this time, adding that the ban was “disrespectful”. A spokesman for the school said: “Poppies are available in school and we encourage pupils and staff to wear them; unfortunately in this case we felt that the large knitted poppy was not appropriate to wear in school.   Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “We are keen that pupils recognise and respect the sacrifices made in war, and pupils are being encouraged to learn the poem In Flanders Field. Many will be taking part in the town’s Remembrance Day service on November 11. “We are also refurbishing and relocating plaques commemorating former pupils of the Great Yarmouth Grammar School that served in battle, as a permanent reminder of that important heritage.”A Royal British Legion spokesman said: “We take the view that the poppy represents the sacrifices our Armed Forces community have made in the defence of freedom; and so the decision to wear it must be a matter of personal choice.“The Legion will always defend the rights of individuals and organisations to choose whether to wear or support the red poppy, and we oppose those who attempt to coerce or criticise people who make this personal choice.” read more