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School bans girls from wearing skirts under new ‘gender-neutral’ rules

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 11/06/2022 India McTaggart
School bans skirts - Fuse © Fuse School bans skirts - Fuse

A secondary school has banned girls from wearing skirts in order to create a “more gender-neutral” uniform policy.

Parents of Tiverton High School (THS) students in Devon were informed on June 9 that the “modifications” to the school uniform would come into effect from September this year.

Pupils at the co-ed secondary school will have to ditch their skirts, which are currently permitted, and attend lessons wearing only trousers, with the exception of PE sessions.

Sammy Crook, the school's headmistress, said: “We will follow other secondary schools in implementing a more gender-neutral uniform policy.

“Parents/carers will be pleased to know that the majority of the uniform will remain as it is, with the exception that from September all students will be expected to wear trousers."

'Complete lack of democracy'

A number of parents expressed frustration after the announcement of the major change, which was decided without any prior consultation.

Among those angry about the lack of warning was Stephen Moakes, who said: "As a parent, I have concerns...These have been made without any consultation with the pupils or parents and are simply being imposed.

"I feel that as a school that encourages its pupils to be engaged and have a voice this seems to be a complete lack of democracy by not allowing the established pupil forums to have input on school uniform changes.”


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As well as implementing the change to have a more gender-neutral uniform, it was also announced due to a persistent problem of girls wearing their skirts shorter than knee length.

Ms Crook said: "We never take decisions like this lightly and go through a detailed process over time in order to come to the right conclusions for our students and the school.

“This change to uniform policy has the approval of our governors, and balances the demands placed on us in matters including standards of education, parental cost, inclusivity and student health.”

'Time consuming' to enforce skirt length policy

She added that it had become “frustrating” and “time consuming” for staff to keep having to enforce the school’s skirt length policy and that parents had been contacted in November about these concerns.

“In January we held a series of assemblies with all year groups about skirts, advising them that unless the uniform policy was properly observed we would move to an all trousers policy.

"Our current policy has allowed girls to wear trousers, which many do already, and boys have been able to wear skirts if they want to,” Ms Crook said.

“Trousers also standardise how our students dress, so that we and they can focus on what we consider to be our primary objective: learning.”

The school said the new move will end up being cheaper for parents as they have provided options around the price and fit of the trousers by not limiting it to one brand.

THS said that shorts will continue to be permitted in the summer term, as set out in their existing policy, and will consider individual circumstances in which there might be a “medical or other need” to wear a skirt.

The school also simultaneously announced changes to the timings and structure of the school day, saying the day will begin 30 minutes earlier, the lunch break will be shortened and two half an hour breaks throughout the day will be introduced.

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