School introduces ban on skirts as part of gender-neutral uniform

School children in the corridor

All students are told to wear pants to school (Picture: Getty)

A secondary school has implemented a gender-neutral uniform policy requiring all students to wear trousers.

Tiverton High School in Devon introduces a number of changes for the new school year in September including the structure of the day as well as the uniform.

But the ban on rock – with the exception of physical education – is causing controversy among some parents.

“We will follow other secondary schools in implementing a more gender-neutral uniform policy,” Principal Sammy Crook said in a letter to parents.

“Parents/Carers will be pleased to know that the majority of the uniform will remain as is, with the exception of September all students are expected to wear trousers.”

The headmaster explained that there will also be a reform of the school timetable and a new sports kit.

However, the changes have not been well received by some parents, who have criticized the school for a lack of consultation with parents and students.

Tiverton High School

The school will adopt a more gender-neutral uniform, the principal said (Image: Google)

“While I accept that there is an element of rules and policies that need to be established, I feel that as a school that encourages its students to be involved and have a voice, this seems like a complete lack of democracy” said father Stephen Moakes.

Parents’ own morning routines and demands, as well as those of other siblings, were not taken into account, he added.

The shorter lunch break would leave the children “hardly any time” for eating, for social contacts and exercise – especially for those who get their food from the canteen, which is already “struggling with capacity problems”.

The decision to change school uniforms was “not taken lightly” but would address the problem of girls wearing shorter skirts, which had prompted complaints from the public and visitors.

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Ms Crook told Devon Live: “By moving to ‘pants only’ we have particularly responded to the trend of girls at school abusing the current policy and wearing approved skirts shorter than they should, in and out of school.

“Wearing skirts below the knee, which is our current policy, has drawn many complaints from the public and visitors to the school.”

She continued: “Our current policy has allowed girls to wear pants, which many already do, and boys could wear skirts if they wanted to. Pants also unify our students’ attire, allowing us and them to focus on what we consider our primary goal: learning.”

Tiverton High School insisted it made the changes “overwhelmingly in the interests of student learning” and did not need to consult parents.

“We don’t need to consult with parents about changes like this, but we have taken into account the changes and how they might affect parents and have consulted with local transport providers,” Ms Crook said.

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Justin Scacco

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