Newest Review: ... mind so long as you did the work). The uniform was simple; black coats, black shoes, black trousers/skirts (grey was not acceptable), bl... more
No, we should keep school uniform, as the adults are in charge.
Should school uniform be abolished?
Member Name: cha97mw
Should school uniform be abolished?
Advantages: better for learning, less bullying,
Disadvantages: the sheer cost, the strictness of conformity at some schools
School uniform is one topic that is always going to be a source of great debate amongst teachers, parents and students, with a minority always willing to claim that being forced to conform is a violation of the individual persons right to freedom of speech.
I have 3 different perspectives on this. Firstly, I was a child, who was not overly fond of her secondary school uniform, then a teacher, trying to enforce the rules, then a parent, trying to afford it and get my own children to conform.
Firstly, I fully agree with the fact that every school has the right to set a dress code, and that it is the child's and parent's responsibility to follow these guidelines. In the school I worked at, we had a contract of dress and behaviour we expected within the school, and this was at the front of the child's planner. Every year, one of my first jobs as a form tutor was to get the children in my class to take these home and get their parent to sign it. I then made sure the child and myself had also signed it, and then I could refer back to it when there was any straying.
Most schools choose a fairly sensible approach to uniform, with flexibility to some extent in the style of the outfit, but uniformity in colours. Primary schools will often be a certain colour of trousers/skirt, with a polo T shirt and a certain coloured jumper, which may or may not have to have the school logo. I feel the difficulties can arise when children get to secondary school age where they want a bit more freedom of expression as they get older, but also that some school's have dress codes that may be a bit overly strict.This is where controversy can then occur.
---Out of the mouths of babes---
As a child, I was less than fond of the brown school uniform at my secondary school. It might have been fashionable in the 1970s when it was designed, but by the 1990s it was a little ridiculed. However, we mostly complied with the uniform. Some rebels would pull threads out of their brown and gold striped tie, or try and tie the tie too short, but we all looked pretty smart, and had a good learning ethos at the school.
I found that on non-uniform days, there was a lot of pressure to dress a certain way, and that sometimes there would be comments made about the way individuals dressed on those days. Some people would use it as a day to go to school plastered in make up or wearing inappropriate jewellery and clothes. These days were always fun as a child, but when I became an adult myself and was a teacher trying to work with children, I saw the downside of the non-uniform day.
---The teacher's perspective---
When these happened in my school I taught at, usually as a way of raising money for a charity event, and not necessarily because it was a 'fun day' in school, there was a definite downshift in the attitude of the kids in my care. It was seen as a day for fun, and not learning, so it would be very challenging to get them to work on these days in a suitable manner.
As a form tutor as well, I would also end up having to be tactful about jewellery on display that might end up as a safety issue or cause the child to have the jewellery stolen, or make up or dress that was age inappropriate, or perhaps could even be classed as a bit 'slutty'. There would also be inappropriate comments verging on bullying directed to the goths and emos, and those who were a bit less fashionable or children asking my opinion on whether I liked what they were wearing. Learning was the last thing we would be doing on one of these days, and eventually the head put a ban on them for a while for this reason.
As a science teacher too, we did experiments that were messy, and school uniform is a bit more robust to these demands, and I was less worried about clothes setting on fire, or being eaten through by chemicals when it was mostly a polyester/nylon mix.
---My views as a mum of 2---
Now, as a parent, having to kit out one child at school in uniform, and one due to start nursery which has the same uniform (but not compulsory, I have different thoughts again. My first is annoyance at shops who have the monopoly on logo'd school uniform, and charge what they like for the privelige, often for clothes that are poorly made. The cost to kit out two small boys is more than I thought it would be, and I would say I have spent about £200 on clothes, bags, shoes and lunchboxes over the past couple of months. (And then add on time spent adjusting trouser lengths, and sewing in name lablels. )
However, when they get to school, they look very lovely in this uniform. And, when they are playing hard at nursery and digging, painting, crafting, baking, and whatever messy play they like, I am relieved they are not messing up their other clothes. If the uniform gets a stain they can keep wearing it, but they still have nice
stuff to wear with me.
Also, there are no comments to them about what they have on because they look the same as everyone else, they feel very grown up and ready to go to the school environment and do as the teachers say.
My only gruntle then is that I make sure my kids go to school every day in full school uniform, but others sometimes sneak in with trainers on, or jeans, or in their own clothes. Then I get 'But why can't I do that?' and the answer always makes me look mean, when really I am just a stickler for conforming as I know how hard my job was when parents don't conform.
---my final thoughts---
I do have a problem with uniform codes that are too strict. E.g. My local comprehensive uses a blazer, but then states that any outer coat must also be all black. Not only is this difficult to get hold of, but also I feel that something they might wear away from school too should not be quite so strictly enforced. After all, they take this off when they get there with no impact on learning. From my own experience too. Some teachers are more strict than others about using the school rules. The amount of kids who would adjust uniform and remove jewellery before entering my room made me laugh, as they knew I had envelopes at the ready and would confiscate it.
Also, sometimes school's do not acknowledge much that not all parents can afford all that is needed for a modern school uniform, so some flexibility is needed as it is better for the child to attend in some uniform and participate in some learning rather than not be at school at all.
I feel I finish where I started. School's do have the right to make the child wear the uniform as parents are aware of the uniform criteria when they complete the application for a place. Parents should do their utmost to support the school to make the teacher's job less about administration of rules and more about teaching, and the child is probably going to try and flout it a bit, but between the parent and teacher, the adults make the rules.
Summary: how long do parents spend buying, cleaning, and maintaining nice school uniform?