Is this the end of school uniforms?

September 8, 2017 Published by

On the first day of the 2017/2018 academic year more than 400 pupils at a comprehensive school in Aberystwyth were given detention for breaking school uniform rules.  The school had a new uniform for the start of the academic year and the children who weren’t in the correct attire were punished.

At another school, children were sent home for wearing the wrong shade of grey. Staff checked the boys as they entered the school gates and any wearing the wrong colour were sent straight home. The headteacher defended the move citing ‘consistency’, but parents were outraged that their children missed school, and that they were being forced to buy their uniform from a specified supplier.

Were the schools involved being too strict or should the rules be adhered to? 

While many agree that school uniforms are a good idea, there has been controversy over how strict some schools are being in enforcing their uniform policy.

Wearing a uniform is a good leveller and it can lead to children being more focused in the classroom; it takes away some of the peer pressure related to clothing and the need to have the latest trends. When everyone is dressed the same, the element of competition with regards to fashion is reduced and children are less likely to stand out as a target for bullies.

Meanwhile, a secondary school in East Sussex has introduced gender neutral uniforms.

The policy aims to help the “small but increasing” number of transgender pupils attending the school feel included, as well as addressing complaints over ‘indecently short’ skirts.

Speaking to the Brighton Argus newspaper, headteacher Tony Smith said: “Pupils have been saying why do boys have to wear ties and girls don’t, and girls have different uniform to boys.”

Once again there have been mixed responses; Mermaid UK (a charity that supports transgender children and their parents) said it was pleased to see the message of acceptance and inclusivity. However one mother told the local newspaper: “My daughter said she has got a gender and it’s female so being gender neutral when she has got a gender is a big deal for her, as she is proud to be a girl.”

Where is the future of school uniforms headed?

Uniforms teach children to dress smartly and take pride in their appearance alongside creating an identity for the school; it should be worn as a badge of pride. 

But in a society where diversity is being increasingly celebrated, and children are missing out on learning because they’ve worn the wrong shoes, is there still a place for a ‘one-fits-all’ policy for school uniforms?

Mugging for Camera_1986 by James Emery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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This post was written by Claire Gillies

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