Darren Lewis explains why girls shouldn’t be banned from wearing skirts to school in the name of inclusion
We have received the consultation letter. The plan, which mandates the changes to school uniforms that will do away with skirts and require all girls to join boys in wearing pants from November.
Parents’ WhatsApp group pings angry mums and dads determined to air their concerns.
In particular, hundreds of girls at the school (I better not name it to protect my teenager and to make sure Ms. L doesn’t put me on the naughty stage) have signed petitions to ensure the consultations are going in one direction.
You don’t want it. They feel that the school simply doesn’t need to take a gender-neutral approach to uniforms for a variety of reasons.
Some petitions make it clear that the girls would prefer to keep their femininity.
If there are children who prefer pants to skirts, make a special exception for them. Why do it the other way around?
For some teenage girls, skirts offer far more privacy than pants at times of the month when they may be feeling more confident and sometimes carrying bulky toiletries.
In terms of body image, school skirts can – for some – be a lot easier than pants for girls who are uncomfortable.
Parents and children in schools across England and Wales are not just complaining about the matter. Very often their concerns are not taken seriously enough by schools which nevertheless claim to take them seriously.
Some schools claim to be making the change because of an ongoing problem with skirts being worn shorter than the rules allow. Others are honest enough to put their cards on the table and admit they’re doing so in the name of inclusivity.
On the one hand, this is to be welcomed. But it needs to be thought through better. It has to work for everyone.
Schools need to involve parents in the decision-making process before they even get to this proposal stage. Communication is everything.
Without them, anger will build and WhatsApp groups will continue to burn.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/schools-should-allow-girls-choose-27284428 "Schools should allow girls to choose between skirts and trousers - and consult parents" - Darren Lewis