Comic Relief: Teacher shaves head after ban as pupil

Hairdresser Lisa Grady and Cait Pearce. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Hairdresser Lisa Grady and Cait Pearce. Picture: Ian Rutherford

3
Have your say

As a schoolgirl, Cait Pearce was banned from shaving her head for Comic Relief by her teachers. But now, 27 years later, the mum-of-two has finally carried through with the unusual fundraiser – and as a teacher at James Gillespie’s High School she no longer has to worry about who makes the rules.

The determined 42-year-old had all her hair shaved off yesterday at Lothian Road salon Paterson SA, raising almost £1500 for Comic Relief.

And the guidance teacher revealed pupils were set to catch their first glimpse of her newly bald head when she came into school this morning.

She said: “The kids are very supportive – most of the money I’ve raised has been from them.

“The third and sixth-year pupils have been going around with buckets, and they have raised £500.”

Mrs Pearce, who lives in Currie, first came up with the wacky fundraising idea as a 15-year-old pupil at Perth Academy, managing to persuade friends and family to pledge £1000 to charity if she shaved off her teenage hair and gave herself a skinhead to mark the first ever Red Nose Day in 1988.

But she was warned outraged teachers would refuse to have her in their classrooms if she carried through with the scheme, and was soon forced to abandon the plan.

“My friends and I thought it would be a complete laugh to shave my head for Comic Relief,” she said. “But some of my teachers refused to teach me if I had no hair. It was thought that I would scare the junior pupils and that I would be a bad role model for them.

“They even said it might affect my future, and going to university. I didn’t have the wherewithal to say, ‘I’m going to do it anyway’. I was quite a little conformist. It’s actually ridiculous.

“In those days clippered hair was associated either with being ill or with being a neo-Nazi.

“But times have changed, and I’m the teacher now. Nobody would tell me not to do it now. The headteacher thought it was really odd that I even asked permission.”

Mrs Pearce said her husband – a fellow teacher – was fully behind the idea, despite feeling a little nervous at the prospect.

“It was actually an advert for Comic Relief on the telly that made me remember it all,” she said. “Me and my husband – who is a primary teacher – were having a chat about how different it is now and I said I should try it again.

“It was an incidental conversation, but then I happened to mention it to my fifth years and they were like, ‘Yeah, go for it!’.”

She added: “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to rock the look – I’m not Sinéad O’Connor. It’s going to be funny, and I’ve bought a hat. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t up for a laugh.”