A headteacher has defended a ban on branded shoes and rejected claims of heavy-handed enforcement.

A group of parents of children at St John’s C of E School in Epping claimed their children were offered scissors by teachers to cut off coloured labels on Kickers shoes, or face further punishment.

They said this left the children upset by perceived intimidation from staff, while claiming there had been mixed messages on permitted footwear from the school, which has not banned branded bags or coats.

Headteacher George Yerosimou said the ban was in place to prevent pupils being exposed to peer pressure to buy certain brands.

“The majority of parents have complied with this by cutting the tags, covering them with masking tape or colouring them in,” he said.

“There may have been one or two situations where we got challenges from students and maybe on occasions they would have perceived that [intimidation].”

He also denied a pupil was instructed to keep quiet about a compensation payment made for his damaged shoes.

He said a cheque for £79.95 was given to the child because it was the only time the tags were removed at the Bury Lane site.

He added that pupils who consistently fail to adhere to school standards will face sanctions such as detention and, although he hoped it would not come to it, Mr Yerosimou did not rule out exclusion.