Teachers' dress code (or lack of one)

(133 Posts)
ProudNeathGirl Fri 28-Sep-12 23:28:48

DD (17) was sent home from sixth form earlier this week to change, because the coloured jeans she was wearing didn't comply with the dress code for sixth form students, which is "business dress"..
Fair enough - but the teacher who sent her home was wearing a beach type dress and denim jacket. Said teacher was today wearing leggings (also against rules for students).
Any kind of piercings apart from plain studs in the ear are also not allowed, but there is a student support manager lower down the school with five piercings in his face.

I don't think this is fair. AIBU?

Nanny0gg Sat 29-Sep-12 09:17:24

I'll never forget my former (primary) HT who always looked like she'd been dragged through a hedge backwards, tearing a Year 6 off a strip for the state of his sweatshirt (all raggedy cuffs). Somewhat hypocritical.

I do think an example needs to be set - especially for 6th formers. Unless teaching art or DT, is secondary teaching really that messy? It really isn't that hard to practically dressed and smart.

VikingVagine Sat 29-Sep-12 09:27:06

Going to add a few points about where I work.

In all state schools on France, all religious symbols are strictly forbidden (not just talking about headscarves, but everything down to wearing a small cross on a chain), a pupils will get sent home for wearing one, and a teacher could end up in court if they wore one. If religion is going to be brought up at school, it has to be in a strictly educational way and treated without judgement or influence.

Another thing, about the reputation of the collège, there are three collèges in the town where I work. Mine had an awful reputation because we had the council flats in our catchment area, so lots of our pupils are from poorer backgrounds. About ten years ago they spilt the council flats between the three schools to even it out, but our reputation stuck. For the past three years (new Head) we've been working really hard to change that, and this September we had to turn down pupils for the first time.

When I used to tell people where I worked, they'd say something along the lines of oh poor you. Now I get a completely different reaction, I hear comments such as how polite and friendly our pupils are.

We added a paragraph to the school rules about being "courtois" to people in and out of school and our kids are now proud of being a pupil at our school even if it means that I have to smile and say good morning to every single pupil I know in the corridor, i.e. about 50 good mornings between the classroom and staff room, up to 8 times a day !

BrianButterfield Sat 29-Sep-12 09:31:31

I agree entirely with lecce. I hate 'business dress' for myself or students. They have their whole life to dress like corporate drones. I enjoy teaching sixth-formers in their fashionable outfits and seeing what they put together! I would hate to teach in a suit as well; it's just not me and doesn't suit my style of teaching or who I am. Actually, I hate uniform full stop but parents like it (and believe it or not, year after year our student council BEG for stricter uniform. They would adore blazers and all the rest of it.)

honeytea Sat 29-Sep-12 09:33:51

I think it all depends what business they are talking about. If I were her I would have said "I intend to work in the photography business so coloured jeans would be appropriate business dress."

I can't see a problem so long as the young people are not dressing in clothes that are very revealing or dirty.

The schools where I live have no uniform, they specify that you can't show your bra and you cant wear shorts so small that you can see your bum cheeks. The kids look a lot more respectable on the way to school than the average group of UK kids walking to school with their skirts just about covering their knickers and their shirts untucked. I don't think that restricting a young persons clothing choices does anything other than make them feel like they don't have the ability to dress themself.

Brycie Sat 29-Sep-12 09:35:51

This is the first thread clicked this morning and I must post to say I agree with Evil pretty much completely. It justgoes to show.

sleeplessinsuburbia Sat 29-Sep-12 09:36:09

future and viking have it right. It's rude to judge another adults choice of clothing, I'm amazed people would comment. Your daughter signed up to a dress code!

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Sat 29-Sep-12 09:40:45

"business dress" makes me think of nasty cheap suits. And estate agents. Estate agents in nasty cheap suits actually.

wtf actually is it?

EvilTwins Sat 29-Sep-12 09:46:34

Brycie grin

Brycie Sat 29-Sep-12 10:01:52

grin I went to bed thinking "but, but, but..". It seems these things can quite get to you (or just me!) so am very pleased this morning.

whois Sat 29-Sep-12 10:13:34

YANBU to think secondary school teachers should dress smartly. They should be in business casual at the very least, preferably suits.

YABU to compare your kid to the teachers.

DrCoconut Sat 29-Sep-12 10:21:50

It's very bizarre to me to have student dress codes at 6th form. Why? DH had to wear a suit for his. My 6th form college had no student dress code other than that it was clean, "decent" and suitable for the lessons. Jeans, tracksuits, leggings, dyed hair, jewellery were all fine. Things that could hang in bunsen burners had to be removed for chemistry lessons, high heels obviously not for PE A level practicals etc but the staff trusted us to use common sense. I work at an FE college now and the policy for student dress is the same, anything as long as it is safe and inoffensive. Staff have to dress smartly though. On the banned list are denim, sports/beach wear, trainers, shorts, cropped trousers, sleeveless tops, too short skirts, low cut tops, see through items, dirty or unreasonably worn items, ungroomed looking hair, gaudy makeup, excessive perfume or after shave. The only exceptions are vocational classes where smart dress wouldn't work, then suitable clothes for the workshops can be worn. But you have to change back for walking about the college or delivering theory classes.

ProudNeathGirl Sat 29-Sep-12 10:52:40

A pretty mixed response, but thank you everyone for your opinions.
I've raised the issue with the head of sixth form, who said she'd had similar comments from other parents, the head boy and girl and other students too. She's going to raise it at the next SLT meeting.
Watch this space!

Malificence Sat 29-Sep-12 10:54:35

My DD is a trainee Secondary Maths teacher , she has to wear business style clothing when in School. Even if there wasn't a dress code, I doubt she'd go in leggings and A+F casual gear.

LeeCoakley Sat 29-Sep-12 11:02:08

6th form dress code has me raging!! Boys - a suit. Girls - knee length skirt or trousers(smart) and matching jacket. No dresses. Tops must have a button front and collar. Grey or black. Only very fine herringbone type pattern approved but could be revoked at any time. These include students who spend most of the day doing textiles and arty subjects. Local 6th form colleges have no dress code and most will go to university, again no dress code, before they have to dress up in 'business' clothes so I don't actually see the point. Aarrgh!

Derceto Sat 29-Sep-12 11:05:25

I put "business dress" in quotes as I suspect no one would mistake me for a business woman. However I do dress differently to how I do at the weekend or at home.

I tend to wear a dress and sometimes a jacket with it. On days when I need more flexibility I wear a wrap dress and maybe a cardigan , on other days I wear a more formal dress and jacket . I have a few trouser or skirt suits too.

I do sometimes wear open toe shoes as I have some heels that have a peep toe, but I would not wear flip flops . I do have some Birkenstocks in my cupboard though . On wednesday I was in work from 7 am until 9 pm do when I was not teaching or in front of parents I changed my shoes.

I don't do cheap nasty suits, most of my work wear is from Hobbs, phase eight, Vivienne Westwood etc, I think I manage to look professional while keeping my own sense of identity . Most of us have to do that at work and I think it is good for us to show our pupils it is possible .

Whether we like it or not people make judgements on us based on first impressions , our appearance is a huge part of that.

Born2bemild Sat 29-Sep-12 12:41:19

I agree teachers shoukd be smart.
But not suits. I've already said that I stopped wearing them after they got chewing gum all over them

eurochick Sat 29-Sep-12 12:48:03

I think teachers should be smart and well-presented. It's not unusual in a professional workplace to have a dress code (ours is "business casual" which seems to translate as "suits not necessary, but stay away from denim, leggings, flip flops, etc or anything which shows too much leg/cleavage). I don't think it would be unreasonable for teachers to wear similar.

soverylucky Sat 29-Sep-12 12:56:38

Yabu to complain about your dd being sent home when she had clearly breached the rules.

Yanbu to complain about the double standards. Whilst staff do not wear uniform - they should set an example.

Born2bemild Sat 29-Sep-12 13:01:44

Agree " business casual" is best for schools.

catgirl1976 Sat 29-Sep-12 13:08:41

Why would you expect pupils to be treated the same as teachers?

There is a uniform for pupils which your daughter did not adhere to.

Himalaya Sat 29-Sep-12 13:15:34

The whole "business casual" thing (I.e. Cheap suits) for sixth formers is odd. Those who go onto university will spend three years in jeans and hoodies before ever having to wear a suit again, and many will get perfectly good jobs that rarely require a suit.

Extrospektiv Sat 29-Sep-12 13:29:36

^I teach English in a secondary school and I don't like the idea of discussing love poetry dressed like a sodding bank manager. I have one quite tight, tailored dress and when I wear it I do find it difficult to crouch down next to students' desks - and I do that a lot. (Love my dress, btw, and it is very smart).

Of course staff should dress smartly but this talk of 'business dress' makes my skin crawl. Fwiw, I hate it for our 6th formers as well. Lovely, bright young kids going around in cheap, shiny suits and nasty shirts

It does make me laugh when students ask why I don't wear a uniform and can wear jewellery and make-up. It's because I'm an adult and I've done my time as a pupil. ^

What on earth does discussing love poetry have to do with the way you dress? Shouldn't it be the other way around: if you have to discuss things with teenagers as part of your job that can lead to talk of sex and romance, conservative dress seems appropriate to me, even if your teacher-pupil/student boundaries are exemplary. Also stop patronising and denigrating the dress of those students. I can see appeal in the idea that it's possible to behave professionally dressed in any which way, but can see precious little professionalism in this way of going about things.

Goldidi Sat 29-Sep-12 13:50:31

I wear "business casual" to school which for me means smart trousers and tunics. Some of our other staff seem to be rather more casual, but equally there are others who are rather smarter. Sometimes teachers' clothes are dictated by their budget too, I know my smarter colleagues are either management or are part of a professional couple (usually with the teacher being the lower earner) with no children, and the scruffier colleagues tend to be the main earner in a family with 2 or more children.

The sixth form are also expected to be in "business casual" and some of them look far, far smarter than I do.

KillerRack Sat 29-Sep-12 13:58:17

Erm bit of both really.

teachers should look smart as they are in a work environment, If they have so much in their face they look like Zao' from the bond films its not a 'smart look'.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sat 29-Sep-12 14:02:26

I think it is pretty bad for the teacher to be wearing denim, a beach dress and leggings.

They need to be setting standards as well as enforcing them.

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