Whilst looking through some news arcitles this week, one stuck out in my mind. The Telegraph (2017) posted an arcitle online titled ‘Head teacher in sexism row over plan to force girls to wear skirts as trousers are ‘too tight”. This then got me thinking about school uniforms and what children think of them.
Through my time at school, we never had a the option to wear trousers. In primary, we could choose between a pinafore or skirt with a shirt and tie, and in secondary we had to wear a knee length skirt. In my own opinion, I thought we looked very smart when we were out on trips, as we all looked the same and you could easily recognise us. However, I do see the appeal of girls wearing trousers. You can feel more free to move around, whereas with a skirt you are worried it would blow up. But does this make the head teacher sexist if she’d prefer the girls to wear skirts?
The argument in this article is that the girls are wearing too tight trousers, including tight leggings and denim bottoms. Now, I am all for a pair of comfortable leggings, however the school has set out clear boundaries regarding what can and cannot be worn so surely that should be respected. Boys were not seen coming in with tight trousers, or their uniform would have to be sorted too. The new skirts had been sourced at a very reasonable price so that families would be able to purchase them for their daughters.
During my placement in first year, I went to a primary school where the girls were able to wear skirts or trousers, but they were also given the option of shirts and ties or a polo shirt. I personally believe that by giving the children the option of wearing a shirt or polo is much more important than the argument between skirts and trousers. By allowing the child to be comfortable, you are making school more enjoyable and therefore the child is more likely to get involved with their learning.
Do children really need uniforms? This is a difficult topic I think. Causro (1996) highlights the different views regarding uniforms in school. One point he makes for uniforms is that it can increase self-esteem. This is because if the child is coming into school in their uniform, they feel that they are on the same level as everyone else. Whereas if they were to come in with their own clothes, they may be worried that other children may judge them for not having the latest trends. However, one of the arguments he also has against uniforms is the price of uniforms. I understand that it can be very difficult for families when the new year beings, especially if they have multiple children at school age. Uniforms and school goods can cost a lot if money, so children may end up wearing their tatters old shoes until a parent can buy them a new pair.
Overall, I think it is important to take into consideration the uniform code that is set out by the school, and abide by it as best as possible. I do not believe that someone is sexist either, simply because they would like the girls to wear skirts instead of tight trousers. However, what is most important is that we are more concerned about how the child is doing in their home life and work, instead of what they are wearing.
Caruso, P. (1996) “Individuality vs. Conformity: The issue behind school uniforms,” NASSP Bulletin, 80(581), pp. 83–88. doi: 10.1177/019263659608058121.
Telegraph (2017) Head teacher in sexism row over plan to force girls to wear skirts as trousers are ‘too tight’. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/20/head-teacher-sexism-row-plan-force-girls-wear-skirts-trousers/amp/ (Accessed: 20 Feb 2017).