School Uniform – class blog debate

Over the past week or so, a number of the schools I blog with have looked at the issue of uniform. It has been an old chestnut for a while among school leaders and parents. It has certainly become a thriving industry for manufacturers who have seen the potential of going beyond the school jumper to include book bags, coats, hats, scarves etc.

For me uniform was essential in my school. It made it feel ‘right’. I wasn’t really aware of how strong this feeling was until I applied for a job at a school where there was no standard uniform. I can clearly remember, walking round on a pre-visit at how it seemed strange that there were all these colours and variety of dress. I realised then that I was a very strong pro-uniformer. Why was this? Was it just another example of my controlling nature?

School Uniform via Google

I like to think that it went beyond that. All my schools were in areas of social deprivation. Standards were very low and many of the children came from ‘workless’ homes where getting a job was not going to be part of normality. We were not able to use ‘it will help you get a better job’ as motivation for working hard. Many of the children had little self esteem or sense of worth so to get them to have pride in their school was a huge ask. For many, the world was a hard place that wasn’t fair.

When opening a new school one of the first discussions was about the uniform. By having a school uniform with a logo we felt we were making a statement; sending a message of belonging. Parents and children joined the discussion about colour and logo.We had done our research to make sure that the colours available to select were stocked at the local supermarket. Luckily, the local authority offered to buy each child a sweatshirt with a logo, on opening the school. After that, parents often bought a cheaper alternative for when the ‘best one’ was in the wash.

For me, it gave us all (staff bought coats as they were excellent value!) a sense of identity. The school name was something I was proud of and I could encourage the children to feel the same when wearing ‘my’ jumpers. It certainly worked in all three schools where I was head teacher. Perhaps I was a bully about it! It was definitely known that you wore uniform and would need a good reason for not wearing it.

Here are the links to the class blogs. Do have a look through the various discussions and points raised. The children have looked at all aspects of the uniform debate. You might like to leave a comment.

St John the Baptist, Waltham Chase, Southampton

Mount Pellon Caulderdale

Which side of the debate do you support? Is uniform a way to unite or divide a school?

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