A mother has expressed her anger at a St Albans school for trying to dissuade her daughter from shaving her head for charity in memory of her grandmother.

Melanie Gough said she is disgusted by a "lack of support" and comments printed in a letter from senior staff members at St Albans Girls' School, which said her 15-year-old daughter’s hair was in a "bad state".

Ms Gough’s daughter, Imogen Howell, decided to have her hair chopped in honour of her grandmother, Maureen, who died in October after a four year battle with cancer.

During a meeting with the school governor and headteacher, Margaret Chapman, this month Ms Gough received a letter, highlighting support Imogen and her twin sister Yasmin had received from the Sandridgebury Lane school.

It detailed queries for consideration from senior members of staff. It read: "I think I’m of the mind that if she is going to do it then maybe the last day of term would be best. Raising money for the charity is great, her hair has been dyed so many times that it’s in a pretty bad state so maybe shaving it off would help, it may also give her a fresh start.

"However maybe an alternative method of raising money should be encouraged?"

Ms Gough of Ferrers Hill Farm, Markyate, is disgusted.

She said: "This is a very derogatory comment. How can a senior member of staff say this to one of their pupils? This is a personal comment and I see it as a bullying tactic."

Imogen’s hair was shaved on Thursday, November 21, and she raised £650 for the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice in Surrey, which cared for her grandmother, and for Rennie Grove Hospice Care.

Beforehand, Imogen had written to the school about her fundraising idea and asked that an assembly be organised to encourage donations.

However Ms Gough says this was ignored and Imogen was left feeling despondent.

The mother-of-three said: "Imogen really wanted the school to get involved.

"However the assembly didn’t happen and Imogen had her hair shaved before they had even mentioned it. The assembly meant a lot to her. It is a huge disappointment."

Ms Gough explained fundraising has been part of Imogen’s grieving process.

She said: "Losing nanny Maureen has had a huge impact on Imogen.

"She watched nanny lose her hair twice, so she thought it would be a good idea to shave her own off."

Imogen said she hoped her grandmother would be proud. She said: "My nan used to go out in public with no hair and I would see the way people reacted to her, both positive and negative.

"I wanted to experience that, to get an idea of what people with cancer go through."

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

The schoolgirl’s fundraising efforts were mentioned during a school assembly on Friday but Imogen says it was "too late".

The headteacher said: "We welcome students leading fundraising activities and last year as a school we raised over £16,000 for various charities.

"Students often lead assemblies to encourage participation in fundraising activities and this is something that we actively encourage.

"We offer a wide range of support to all of our students if they experience challenging times. As this is a particularly sensitive time for the girls, it would not be in their best interest to comment on specific details."