to ask: What's the point in school uniforms?

(451 Posts)
allrightluv Thu 31-Jan-13 08:41:50

They serve no purpose and promote conformity. Differences in income are expressed in other ways - shoes, bags, mobiles, in fact, even more so. Kids are judged by which school they go to (state/private). Thanks to the uniform you can tell by a mile off. Kids wear brands anyway - after school, at the weekends and in the holidays, so it's not any cheaper to wear a uniform to school. Consumerism is the most pronounced in the UK of all European countries.

Other countries like Sweden have no uniforms at school and few uniforms in work life, too, and rate much higher in terms of kids' happiness etc.

I'm not saying there's a causal link, but uniforms are not helping...

TurkeyDino Thu 31-Jan-13 08:45:07

I like it. No choosing clothes on a morning, not getting 'good clothes' spoiled with paint or glue etc. I really can't see why anyone gets worked up about it.

mrsjay Thu 31-Jan-13 08:46:35

Uniform as I see it are like work clothes gets children ready for their day not all children wear brands not all parents go in for all that and can you imagine the expense if a child started demanding the latest hoodie or whatever for school , children especially high school children will judge on clothes and what if a kid hasn't the right clothes on that day and their life is a misery , maybe sweedish kids dont go in for designer brands or something,

MammaTJ Thu 31-Jan-13 08:48:52

I like it. I have a DD who is very strong willed and has ADHD. She will wear uniform but argue about just about every other clothing decision. Uniform makes life a lot easier.

ShowOfHands Thu 31-Jan-13 08:52:42

Believe me, as the child who dreaded non-uniform day at school due to the inevitable inability to meet required fashion standards, I actually am quite pro uniform. I might be a completely anti-establishment, non-conformist hippy in nearly every other area, but it does provide a level playing field from which to start. Of course children will always find a way to single out difference and denote status, but uniform is part of the school community and provides several functions.

And promoting conformity? Well, the very act of sending a child to school suggests an expectation of learnt behaviour from a single source, designed to cater to the millions.

biryani Thu 31-Jan-13 08:57:44

I agree with you, OP. I would rather have an increased outlay on out-of-school clothes than the seemingly endless hassle of buying uniform and keeping it clean. Less clutter, too. And bloody school shoes that can't be worn anywhere else!

I feel the same way about so-called 'kit"for sports and activities. What's wrong with a vest and t-shirt?

wonkylegs Thu 31-Jan-13 08:58:50

Main appeal for me is - it makes mornings easy as there are no decisions to make.
There are differences in what parents can afford (more noticeable in some areas than others) and it can show up quite noticeably in clothes however with uniform some parents can get assistance with the costs (but you wouldn't know it) this wouldn't happen without uniform as it would be a less workable system.
I'm not sure you can compare other countries systems on their uniform policies alone as there are other huge variables in their education systems and cultures besides uniform that probably have more influence on outcomes.

mrsjay Thu 31-Jan-13 08:59:43

I'm not sure you can compare other countries systems on their uniform policies alone as there are other huge variables in their education systems and cultures besides uniform that probably have more influence on outcomes.

^ ^ that.

MarjorieAntrobus Thu 31-Jan-13 09:03:29

The point of school uniforms is that the mornings are easier than they would be if there were no school uniforms.

I would not want mufti days every day of the week, thank you very much.

I like them. Yes it's a hassle but it would be a hassle making sure they had something clean and presentable every morning anyway. And you'd have arguments about trying to prise DD1 out of her Rapunzel dress every morning.

Scholes34 Thu 31-Jan-13 09:06:32

As the mother of three children who didn't have a uniform until secondary school, I absolutely welcome it. We now have fewer clothes in the wardrobe. I know exactly how many polo shirts, sweatshirts and school trousers/skirts I need to get through a week/term/year. They do a lot of walking in secondary school, so one good pair of school shoes a year works well.

Wearing the correct uniform shows respect for the establishment they're learning in - the school has recently tightened up on wearing the correct uniform.

They can show their own personalities through a choice of socks(!) and the occasional non-uniform day. Most children at the school just accept the uniform, wear it properly and show concern about more important things.

mrsjay Thu 31-Jan-13 09:14:35

our high school changed uniform last year and they have been really strict about it and TBh i was gld because before dds would be in the old uniform and others would turn up in whatever, some kids are really into fashion can you imagine the stress of them getting out in the morning I couldn't be doing with that and besides on the weekend dd2 looks like she got dressed in the dark grin least she looks presentable in her uniform

socharlotte Thu 31-Jan-13 09:15:15

Differences in income are expressed in other ways

Yes but it's a hell of a lot cheaper to 'keep up' with your peers via a mobile phone and a bag, than a whole wardrobe of designer gear.Surely you can see that!

diddl Thu 31-Jan-13 09:15:25

We don´t have a uniform & I never found getting them dressed in the morning difficult.

A lot of their clothes were 2nd hand anyway purely so that if they got ruined at school/playing it didn´t matter.

I think I would have found the having to keep washing uniform annoying tbh.

Plus the amount you have to buy initially to get you through a week.

FantasticDay Thu 31-Jan-13 09:15:30

It promotes identification with the school, creates an esprit de corps, stops rows about what to wear in the morning, goes some way towards ironing out differences in social status (in school at least - I don't think you can differentiate shoes much if they have to be plain black, with low heels), and gives a 'safe' outlet for a rebellious streak (if you can't rebel a bit by wearing your tie the wrong way round, or rolling your skirt up a bit, you'll look for something that could be a lot more harmful).

diddl Thu 31-Jan-13 09:17:00

Show personality through socks??

When I was at school, they were part of the uniform & colour was dictated!

Cherriesarelovely Thu 31-Jan-13 09:24:57

I don't like uniforms. Dd has one at her school and I admit it makes life more simple but we don't have one at my school and yet there seems to be far more fussing about fashion, style of jacket, which bag etc. At my school the children just wear comfortable, casual clothes and seem to take alot less notice of it. I also like the way it allows kids to be more expressive. Not sure what it would be like for teenagers though.

JenaiMorris Thu 31-Jan-13 09:25:51

I think uniforms are stupid, but have softened slightly since ds has started secondary. The school take a sensible approach to enforcement and don't obsess about petty infringements, the uniform is fairly inexpensive (plus there is really good quality nearly new for sale) and we don't have to stress about what to wear in the morning.

I get the impression that a lot of schools are not like that however. In fact I pretty much ruled one out having witnessed teachers doing uniform patrol on the street outside.

Startail Thu 31-Jan-13 09:25:52

According to a very wonderful retired head mistress,
Teens want to rebel, uniform gives them something perfectly harmless to rebel against.

Cherriesarelovely Thu 31-Jan-13 09:25:58

Sorry I mean there is alot more fuss amongst the children at my Dds school which has a uniform.

honeytea Thu 31-Jan-13 09:29:46

I think uniforms are a bad idea, I think a badly worn uniform (short skirt like the 13 year old is going clubbing or worse and untucked shirts) are a lot scruffier looking than kids in jeans and t-shirts.

I live in Sweden and the kids just wear normal clothes, jeans or shorts with a t shirt and jumper. The kids are dressed/choose fairly gender neutral clothing so you don't get girls in Disney princess clothing or boys in army print. I don't think it is a rule not to have character clothing but the kids I work with are nearly never dressed in character clothing, rarely are they dressed in girls/boys clothing.

All the older kids tend to have posh phones but when I talk to them about it they are their parents old phones that they have been given when they upgraded.

The clothing for Swedish schools also has to be practical as they spend lots of time outside even in the winter when it can be -15

stickingattwo Thu 31-Jan-13 09:30:00

It's great for the poorer kids - I dreaded non-uniform days at my school because we didn't have money for new clothes, mine were all second hand. in Fact the uniform was usually the only thing i had that was new. So even though my kids are in the lucky position to have nice new trendy clothes if they want I'm happy that they wear a uniform. Also glad that my daughter isn't going to be stressing every day about what to wear, if she looks cool enough etc

socharlotte Thu 31-Jan-13 09:30:29

startail that is a very good point.

Ha ha socks have to be mid grey at my DCs school.NOT pale grey, charcoal grey or heaven forbid black.*MID GREY*

lottiegarbanzo Thu 31-Jan-13 09:30:33

Have you been to Sweden? It's the most conformist place I've ever visited and everyone wears the same three outfits - by choice!

EnjoyResponsibly Thu 31-Jan-13 09:30:43

"Consumerism is the most pronounced in the UK..." Is there evidence of that amongst children OP?

Surely it's a way of putting kids in work clothes, that are suitable for the job of learning. Typically uniform is functional, without added bits that interfere with or distract from the job of learning. They're relatively cheap, easy to clean and quickly replaceable.

Even in schools where there's no uniform there's always rules such as no logo or message on shirts, and someone always pushes that.

I used to work in a dressed down City office. The interesting thing was the men. Released from needing to wear suits they all, and I shit you not, wore chinos and blue shirts. Not much clamour for individuality there grin

honeytea Thu 31-Jan-13 09:38:10

* Have you been to Sweden? It's the most conformist place I've ever visited and everyone wears the same three outfits - by choice!*

This is true, they all also drive tge same car and call their children the same name and go on holiday to tge same place.

Theicingontop Thu 31-Jan-13 09:39:35

I dreaded non-school uniform days, I owned perhaps a single outfit that fitted me and had no (obvious) holes in.

Some children don't have families who are able or willing to provide suitable clothing for outside of school.

Better a uniform than a child being bullied because their jeans are too small, or their clothes are unfashionable, or they've been wearing the same top for two years.

gordyslovesheep Thu 31-Jan-13 09:40:10

I LOVE uniform - It's cheap - I have no arguments over 'what I am going to wear' with my 3 girls and their nice clothes stay nice - what's not to love!

Chigley1 Thu 31-Jan-13 09:40:13

Uniform is a good thing, IMO. I could not deal with the stress of choosing and sorting different outfits everyday.
My kids are at an independent school and yes the uniform is very strict and fairly expensive initially, but also much more hardwearing than their weekend clothes. And I wouldn't dream of buying 'branded' clothes for the weekend. It's hand-me downs or Primark!

WilsonFrickett Thu 31-Jan-13 09:40:40

Yep, they promote conformity. Schools are all about conformity, hadn't you noticed?

In many schools in Africa, where children pay for their education and very many people can't afford it, uniform is usually compulsory too.

AmberSocks Thu 31-Jan-13 09:44:34

they are supposed to be so that everyone is the same and theres no fashion parade but kids always find a way,and theres always the kids with scruffy hand me downs that get picked on,i hate them,but luckily dont have to use them as my kids are home ed.

AmberSocks Thu 31-Jan-13 09:45:42

plus they are so depressing!grey trousers and black shoes-ugh!

We make the most of it and my kids wear the brightest clothes and shoes possible!

MariusEarlobe Thu 31-Jan-13 09:50:45

I just wish they were more practical. Dd is dyspraxic , stupid thin blouses and trousers that fall apart as soon as she falls over. They are logo ones to so can't even dodge that.

Not only that they aren't allowed to wear t-shirts underneath so she's been freezing all winter.

A school near us has thick skirts and trousers, polo t-shirt, hoodie and blazer in winter. It's tartan but at least they are warm.

EnjoyResponsibly Thu 31-Jan-13 09:52:00

But Amber young kids can be as "creative" as they like in their work; art, chemistry, biology etc if their dark clothes don't show up paint, mud, odd stains etc.

Passiveaggressivecakeeater Thu 31-Jan-13 09:52:19

Those who don't understand school uniforms have obviously never been the poor kid of the class.

FossilMum Thu 31-Jan-13 09:55:36

I agree that a uniform COULD help provide a level playing field, and simplify clothing choices in the morning.

HOWEVER, why oh why oh why do they have to keep having non-uniform days? If having a uniform is to help poorer/less fashionable kids, it needs to be worn EVERY SINGLE DAY. No exceptions.

DS started Reception in Sept. I spent a week answering "but why do I have to wear a uniform?" questions. I finally convinced him that it was so everyone looked the same, and nice, and comfortable, and he was happy with that. Two weeks into term it was "wear jeans for charity" day. He didn't have any jeans as he'd just outgrown them, and I'd not yet replaced them as I'd just spent a fortune on school uniform.

Then every half term the team with the most points gets to come in without uniform as a "reward" for following school rules -- such as, um, wearing the Very Important School Uniform. That makes no sense whatsoever.

Plus his school has non-standard colours, which are hard to source. Took me ages to find smart cotton (for his eczema) navy trousers with an elastic waist (cause he finds a proper fly to fiddly at his age). And he's only worn his special PE shorts twice, his special PE joggers never, and his special PE socks never. Bloody waste of money as he can't wear them weekends at home as they're sitting in his PE bag at school. He'll outgrow them soon. It's annoying even though I'm not skint; if I were I'd be livid.

blackeyedsusan Thu 31-Jan-13 09:56:22

because i don't get stressed that she has got black maker pen on a home t shirt. gets pen on a school t shirt nd it doesn't ewash out... so what she still goes in it... most of the time it is covered by a jumper anyway.

PandaOnAPushBike Thu 31-Jan-13 09:56:59

I agree with the other Swenglish. Linking school uniforms and conformity and then giving Sweden of an example of a non-uniform wearing system has me roaring with laughter.

littlemisssarcastic Thu 31-Jan-13 09:58:04

School uniform = no arguments about what to wear when the morning is already a rush.
For DD, who is in primary school, it is PPE. grin

VenusRising Thu 31-Jan-13 09:58:04

I love uniforms - makes the mornings simple.

All children in dcs school wear the same uniform, as they have a supplier, so no income indicators there. They are made from wool and cotton.

Uniforms wear very well, are good quality, made from natural materials, and give a work ethic, as they are work clothes.

Fakebook Thu 31-Jan-13 09:58:06

There is no point. It's just to make parents spend money and feed the economy. They also look pwetty.

Ponderingonaquandry Thu 31-Jan-13 09:59:02

I like them.

It shows children that they have to be presentable for a day at 'work'. It's also been shown that the schools that enforce their uniforms more rigorously have better behaviour and better results.

VenusRising Thu 31-Jan-13 09:59:26

Btw, I also wear a uniform to work, and an very creative.
I don't want to have to think about my clothes either.
I wear black.

Catchingmockingbirds Thu 31-Jan-13 10:01:07

I'm another who dreaded non-uniform days at school, I'd have awful stomach cramps worrying about it. If uniforms stop another child from experiencing that every day then I'm all for them.

TrinityRhino Thu 31-Jan-13 10:01:40

i like it so my kids don't have yet another thing to be teased for

they have enough

TroublesomeEx Thu 31-Jan-13 10:02:18

Kids wear brands anyway

Mine don't confused

Besides my children love their uniforms. They're really proud of them. They go to good (state) schools and they like to be seen in them and for people to know what school they go to.

Other people have certain expectations (of conduct) based on their uniform and they like that.

I suspect the downside to uniform is that, if people do make judgements based on it, then they make negative as well as positive ones. sad

And that's not fair for those children.

But uniform is designed to be easy to wash and wear. So convenient!

Bonsoir Thu 31-Jan-13 10:02:47

Agree with the OP.

TrinityRhino Thu 31-Jan-13 10:04:21

kids wear brands anyway

mine don't

we cant afford to

dd1 has just got her first pair of nike trainers at nearly 13 for her birthday

TheCraicDealer Thu 31-Jan-13 10:05:17

Personally I love them. I still get a little buzz of nostalgia when I see a girl from my old school in town, long grey pleated skirt blowing in the wind.....

thekidsrule Thu 31-Jan-13 10:13:07

i like them for many reasons

smartness of whole school
easier in the mornings,no choice
probably cheaper in the long run
is a good start to understand that many work places expect a uniform

i would hate hate hate if my kids school could wear what they want

MadInfoScientist Thu 31-Jan-13 10:14:01

I was a student and a teacher in the US before coming to England...and my heavens...uniforms are the best thing going. No argument with DCs in the mornings, much less time during lessons having to police clothing (I used to spend the first 20 minutes of every lesson having to tell students off for their clothes...much less here in the UK). We are lucky that the primary school DCs attend aren't terribly fussy about having logo'd stuff, so long as the colour scheme is the same, so I can get all their uniform stuff at Matalan/Tesco etc. for less money.

It's just so much easier, and much less pressure to be trendy!

KC225 Thu 31-Jan-13 10:20:21

My husband is Swedish and we both think uniforms are a great idea. His Mother and sister with school age children in Sweden also think school uniform is a great idea too.

No arguments - no fuss, no I'm not wearing that, no fishing through the laundry basked for things that need ironing. Everyone knows what they are wearing and what is expected. Like previous posters have said - non uniform days a few times a year are bad enough.

Tailtwister Thu 31-Jan-13 10:21:26

I like uniforms and wouldn't want to send my children to a school which doesn't have one. It cuts the hassle of trying to decide what to wear each morning, plus reduces the incidence of bullying due to what people are wearing. Imo everyone should be wearing the same, including same style, length of skirt, type of shoes etc.

As for cost, I do think there should be provision for families who can't afford the outlay. Some kind of grant which can be used to ensure their child is able to be the same as everyone else. As a parent I would be willing to contribute to a uniform fund for this purpose.

LotsaTuddles Thu 31-Jan-13 10:24:48

I love them. The hassle of having to pick a whole new set if clothes out every day is unnecessary. When I was in school I hated my uniform (like most teenagers) but then went to sixth form and there wasn't a uniform, the hassle of having to pick out what to wear everyday made me actually miss wearing a uniform.

Having to keep a school uniform clean is no more difficult than keeping normal clothes clean, in fact it's easier because you can get the non iron trousers and skirts etc

Tailtwister Thu 31-Jan-13 10:24:55

I also think it improves behaviour outside the school gates too. If pupils are aware they can be identified (and therefore reported to the HT) for bad behaviour but the general public, then they might think twice. I have contacted different schools on 2 occasions, as I saw some pretty vile bullying going on and thought they should be aware of it. I also said something to those concerned too and got a pretty foul mouthed tirade back, but it gave the victim a chance to get away which I'm glad about.

BubaMarra Thu 31-Jan-13 10:26:02

I can see how uniforms make life easier for parents, but I don't agree with a notion that all children must look the same. It doesn't allow them to express their personality and they are thought that individuality is something that is best suppresed. Plus it does not provide level playing field because nowdays there are so many other things that reflect children's social status.

And it actually does not teach them they need to be presentable, it just teach them they must wear something that someone else decided for them. When children don't wear school uniform they still need to be presentable and they actually learn how to dress independently but still look acceptable. It's a skill with long term benefits because most of them will end up with jobs with no uniforms which however doesn't mean anything is acceptable.

ordinarygull Thu 31-Jan-13 10:27:01

aren't uniforms so that that shops know which school the shoplifters are from?

Hullygully Thu 31-Jan-13 10:29:16

AGAINST

A simple dress code (no arse/tits out, no high heels for either gender etc) should suffice

MadInfoScientist Thu 31-Jan-13 10:32:31

I have yet to see a dress code that works. I HATED spending valuable teaching time having to address arse/tits out, high heels, etc. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

fromFuntoMum Thu 31-Jan-13 10:33:19

In Italy we don't have them. I think they just help the parents (less fights), the schools (easy to recognise pupils when out), but nobody is thinking of the kids individuality. Why not let them have fun with clothes when they're young? there's a lifetime to wear work uniforms?
I also think that this is the reason why most Italian men and women 'get' fashion. they know how to dress, because they experimented with it all their life.

notso Thu 31-Jan-13 10:34:14

I don't mind uniform and I think it's the least of this country's education problems.

What I hate at DD's school is the massive list of uniform requirement and regulations you are given when they start, none of which is followed and most of it isn't needed.
DD has a school tracksuit, shin pads and a hockey stick and hasn't done hockey once in two years.
The policy says no trainers, but the head of year says if they are all black trainers are fine.
The policy says tailored trousers, but the head of year says black skinny jeans are fine.
The policy says ties to be fastened properly and top button also fastened, DD has worn her tie tied with a 'fat knot' about 15 cm's wide (looks ridiculoushmm) for 18 months and no-one seems to have batted an eylid except DH and I.

Hate them, hate seeing kids not as individuals but as little clones of office workers, hate the cheap nasty material of most of them, hate trying to make state schools look like private schools, hate the way they identify which school the child goes to, hate the cumpolsory mega boring back pack a lot of schools have now.

I can see the arguments for parents wanting them, but I think a dress code is much better.

DontEvenThinkAboutIt Thu 31-Jan-13 10:35:58

I like either no uniform at all or a very relaxed uniform.

We have experience of a super strict uniform where the DC's had to wear blazers even in 35 degree heat (while some female teachers wore spaghetti strap tops?) of no uniform and of a relaxed uniform. The relaxed uniform is black school style trousers or skirt and the school golf shirt/ sweat shirt.

FlickSticks Thu 31-Jan-13 10:41:43

I am in two minds, I went to a 'hippy' school with no uniform, I loved it and felt a bit anxious that DC was going to have to wear uniform, it was a big thing for me at the time. Now I have 2 DC at school I quite like it in the sense it's easier to get dressed, it's cheaper and there is less 'competition' with clothes. I do still look forward to no uniform days though grin

WilsonFrickett Thu 31-Jan-13 10:42:49

I also think that this is the reason why most Italian men and women 'get' fashion. they know how to dress, because they experimented with it all their life

Isn't following the fashion the same as conformity then? grin

atthewelles Thu 31-Jan-13 10:46:06

I can still remember 'non uniform' occasions in secondary school and the anxiety, foreplanning and subtle showing off that went on. So definitely at that level I think a uniform is desirable and is one less thing the more insecure or less well off students have to worry about.

In junior school, kids may not be as competitive, but its still a lot handier than having to sort out clothes every morning, deal with tantrums and refusals to wear this, that or the other.

ConferencePear Thu 31-Jan-13 10:46:33

As a teacher and a parent I'm definitely pro uniform.
We have occasional non-uniform days and the posturing and preening among some of the girls is unbelievable.
Our uniform is fairly simple and the kids had a lot of input through the School Council.
To suggest that it restricts the children's ability to be individuals is a bit silly to be honest. None of our kids could be accused of having their individuality restricted - they are perfectly capable of expressing that in ways other than clothes.

Hullygully Thu 31-Jan-13 10:49:46

This thread is making me change my mind

I am astonished.

KC225 Thu 31-Jan-13 10:51:08

Italian men all dress the same young and old - that preppy look shirt beneath wool jumper and a beige cream mac if needed. And before you moan - I have lived in Italy and went out with an Italian man who dressed like that as did his friends, colleagues and family members

Children are not stitched into school uniform from reception to 18. Mine change when they get home, they are free to dress how they want at the weekends and during the holidays and non uniform days.

allrightluv Thu 31-Jan-13 10:51:11

Some points I'd like to pick up on:

- Respect is not something that comes from wearing a school uniform, it's something you learn from your parents/family. I've worked in education, in Sweden as a teacher you get a "good morning" in England a "fuck off". That's just my experience.

- School uniforms are not cheaper. I get clothes from George, Primark, second hand for my DCs - similar prices to school uniforms. Plus, you already have everyday clothes in your cuboard or do your DCs wear uniforms at the weekend?

- They are not practical: I get glimpses of girls' knickers on a daily basis when they are trying to climb walls with skirts and ankle socks! Stains don't wash out of jumpers and trousers are always ripped. School shoes barely last 4 weeks!

- As for it being easier in the morning, I disagree: If children were to choose what they wear in the morning, how will that take longer? If you as a parent make sure the clothes are clean, let them wear a green jumper with pink wellies! Who cares. I let my DS chose what to wear and rarely intervene.

- Only because consumerism is so pronounced you have problems having to persuade girls not to wear princess costumes rather than gender neutral clothes (like in Sweden), and with kids being bullied for wearing the "wrong" clothes... As for references that the UK is top in consumerism and worst for child-wellbeing, there's a UNICEF study on that.

- Regarding the comment Schools are all about conformity, hadn't you noticed? No, I hadn't noticed, our schools reinforce how everybody is special, different etc. Constantly.

- It also been shown that the schools that enforce their uniforms more rigorously have better behaviour and better results. No, that's not true, there aren't any studies that point in this direction. There are, however, a few that suggest not wearing uniforms to school is beneficial.

cantspel Thu 31-Jan-13 10:51:42

I like school uniform and activity looked for a school with a strict uniform policy.

It gives the them something to rebel against without getting into any real trouble. The act of loosing their tie or wearing their shirt tails out is as daring as it gets, Much better than having their arse handing out their trousers or an endless parade of fred perry polos at £50 a shot.

TheCraicDealer Thu 31-Jan-13 10:52:15

How many adults think that their individuality is being compromised by having to wear a uniform for work? Kids have their evenings and weekends to experiment with clothes all they like, wearing a uniform for 7 or 8 hours a day doesn't mean they're destined to become some sort of corporate zombie.

Jins Thu 31-Jan-13 10:54:21

I'm generally in favour of school uniforms for compulsory school age as long as they are simple, easy and reasonable to buy and don't include stupid items like kilts. I'm totally against uniforms in sixth form though

GirlOutNumbered Thu 31-Jan-13 10:58:31

Interestingly a school local to us has just reintroduced uniform in an effort to combat behaviour.

GirlOutNumbered Thu 31-Jan-13 11:00:27

Also, I work in a school. We expect our children to be 'ready to learn'. This includes being in uniform and having the correct items on them (a pen etc!).

happyhorse Thu 31-Jan-13 11:00:33

I'm in favour of uniforms. DS is in reception and is proud of his uniform and the fact that he's wearing the same as the bigger boys he sees. It helps him with the concept of belonging to the school, which is part of him feeling happy there.

Also, he's quite picky about what he wears out of school and I couldn't stand the hassle every morning. Uniform is easy.

Hullygully Thu 31-Jan-13 11:02:32

The top performing school of 2012 is entirely non uniform

valiumredhead Thu 31-Jan-13 11:04:25

I like them for the smiple reason there is no faffing around in the morning BUT I hate the fact they are so ridiculously expensive.

KC225 Thu 31-Jan-13 11:06:36

I have noticed that there is a big difference with children's clothes in general between here and Sweden. I shop in both. Sweden has less much less baby pink and baby blue - the colours for children are mainly bright primary colours like red green yellow and much less character based but all that is a side issue from school uniform. As I said Swedish SIL wouold love a school uniform her two.

I get my uniforms from M&S usually when they have 3 for 2 and they are hard wearing, not too much ironing - in fact, our school has started to sell second hand uniforms twice a year because instead of wearing out a lot of the uniforms have been grown out of but have good use left in them. School shoes are from clarks - pricey on initial lay out I grant you but last the school year (maybe I've been lucky). Still a fan of uniforms

FlickSticks Thu 31-Jan-13 11:09:15

IMO in no way does it encourage learning or affect it in any way (positive or negative), it just makes life easier for the majority of parents and makes the school look 'smart'.

In the non uniform school I went to I remember ^ a lot^ of competition even at primary age. The cool kids had nike air and branded clothes, the poorer kids had mismatched clothes and cheap trainers/shoes. There was a real sense of looking cool through your clothes, I haven't seen this at my DC's school or at least no way to that extent.

ConferencePear Thu 31-Jan-13 11:10:34

"The top performing school of 2012 is entirely non uniform" - please tell us the name of the school Hullgully.

I'm not in favour of expensive uniform - almost everything on our list can be bought from Primark or Tesco.

Quenelle Thu 31-Jan-13 11:10:51

If I hadn't been wearing school uniform I wouldn't have been identified by the new teacher who saw me smoking when walking to school on her first day and reported me to the headmaster <curses>

But I think I do prefer having them really. The schools round here generally just have black trousers and school-branded polo shirts which look OK and don't cost the earth. I can't be doing with schools that make you buy their blazers etc at great expense from nominated shops though.

KC225 Thu 31-Jan-13 11:15:19

Quenelle: Hahahaha -

camaleon Thu 31-Jan-13 11:21:31

Easier said than done, but it would be nice to be able to have a discussion on the topic including what the children thought about uniforms.

camaleon Thu 31-Jan-13 11:23:38

I personally dislike them because I see them as something that was prohibited when Franco (Spanish dictator) died in state schools. So they are linked to me to a political regime or religious education.
There is a lot of 'culture' and historic bagage re the decision to impose uniforms or not. I find it is also a weird condition to impose a dress-code as a condition to get access to the right to education.

littlewhitebag Thu 31-Jan-13 11:26:48

My DD2 attends a private school and all the children wear exactly the same uniform. There are even guidelines regarding shoes, make up, hair etc. All the children look very smart and despite the initial outlay being quite expensive the stuff lasts and lasts. I like that there is no drama in the morning - on goes the uniform. On non uniform days the angst that goes into choosing an outfit is exhausting. I am so glad she wears a uniform.

Crinkle77 Thu 31-Jan-13 11:35:57

I know you can't compare a workplace with school but my work introduced a uniform a couple of years ago. Inevitably there were lots of people who moaned but I was pleased. It meant I did not have to think about what I was going to wear. There is none of that 'oh I only wore that last week so can't wear it again'. With a schoold uniform it also makes the kids easily identifiable.

4goingon14 Thu 31-Jan-13 11:41:18

Hate school uniforms, hate enforcement of clothes with logo's even more! How is this not the same a 'brands'? I find that the logoed stuff my daughter has to wear is very poor quality for a very high price, I can buy branded stuff of much better quality for much lower prices.

The majority of countries around the world do not have schools with uniforms and many come higher than the UK in education tables.

Uniforms do not encourage good behaviour or a better education, teachers and families do.

I totally agree with you OP.

popcornpaws Thu 31-Jan-13 11:41:31

My daughters schools, both primary and academy are very strict on uniforms. No branded shoes, jackets, coats or bags are allowed, and they look so smart going to school. Proper shirt and tie uniform, no polo shirts, blazers not fleeces, I think they look great and uniforms are very hard wearing.
Compared to other local schools that don't have a uniform policy they look so much better.

Hobbitation Thu 31-Jan-13 11:44:17

I don't mind either way. I used to be very pro uniform but now I'd sit on the fence. What would irk me would be having to buy expensive items from a specific provider and anything which potentially excludes the less well off - expensive and extensive uniforms in grammars and comps in a naice area, for example.

Vagndidit Thu 31-Jan-13 11:44:21

I loved wearing a uniform as a kid. I was really self-conscious and not as wealthy as most of my schoolmates and I felt that the uniform was the one, great "equalizer."

As the mother, I am grateful for uniforms b/c it saves energy and hassle of picking out different outfits for every day. And face it, you can't get decent trousers for 3 quid a pair in "everyday" clothing, but I think uniforms are very well priced.

Sonotkylie Thu 31-Jan-13 11:44:40

I surprised myself when DS was in pre school and desperate for the uniform sweatshirt, to find that I hated seeing children in uniform, as little clones with no individuality at all. Not to mention trying to differentiate between all the little blond girls with the same top. Believe me I would never have guessed it would bother me. I am/ was a lawyer - all about conformity there. I would prefer there was no uniform but I see the plus sides. My school (dark ages) had a uniform but it was only compulsory for certain special days - maybe that's the way forward?(OK I realise that as a parent that must be a nightmare!)

GirlOutNumbered Thu 31-Jan-13 11:54:15

Hully Please enlighten us to this non uniform wearing school. I believe Colyton Grammar topped the league tables and that is most definitely a uniform wearing school.

hoodoo12345 Thu 31-Jan-13 11:58:10

I am very glad my DC wear school uniform, there wasn't any when i was at school and i remember very clearly the bitchy remarks because i was wearing the wrong brand of jeans, the wrong style of top etc.
It is one less thing for my kids to think about.

treaclesoda Thu 31-Jan-13 11:58:37

I'm very pro uniform. I don't want to have to choose clothes for DD to wear to school, I don't want her fretting over what other people are wearing etc. My school life would have been hell if we hadn't had uniform (my parents were a lot older than most of my school friends parents, and as a teenager I wasn't allowed to wear the fashionable clothes that my friends were all wearing), in fact without uniform I probably would have ended up dropping out of school as I would have found it all so unbearable.

And as for promoting conformity, well, to a certain extent I'm all for that, its quite a valuable life lesson to learn that at times you have to put your desires in second place to someone else's. As an adult you quite often have to conform to things such as a dress code at work, and if you don't learn that lesson as a child, it will be much harder to swallow when you grow up. There are evenings and weekends for being non conformist, its not too traumatic to stick to the rules for a few hours a day. Having said that, I don't like trivial rules for rules sake, so I do get frustrated at schools getting worked up over something like girls tights having to be of a certain thickness or whatever.

ivykaty44 Thu 31-Jan-13 11:59:36

There is a local catholic secondary school which didn't used to stipulate any type of uniform - the children made up their own, it was black jeans, black t shirts, black hoodies, black trainers - no colouring allowed and then if possible dyed black hair.

Now they have stipulated a uniform and all the children are so different grin

maggiepy Thu 31-Jan-13 12:04:43

Not against school uniform but really, really detest the way we are forced to pay through the nose for crap quality logo'd sweatshirts and cardigans (of course only available from our school, itself!).
Am dead against uniform if the sole supplier is the school, when is this poor practice (which apparently is against the 'rules' anyway -seems heads don't have to follow uniform rules like our kids do?) going to stop. Shouldn't be happening, OFT man up!

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 31-Jan-13 12:05:10

My first Au Pair who was French and only 18 (so just out of school) used to admire DD's uniform and often expressed how she wished there had been uniforms at her schools in France.
She had attended schools were her ethnicity were in the minority and she was teased/bullied as her clothing choices did not match that of the majority. She arrived here 3 months after leaving school really quite timid and unsure of herself because of this. Within the year she had blossomed in a wonderful confident girl who when freeded from others commenting on her clothing choices was able to truly be herself.
Her mother is a teacher in a primary school and wishes there was uniform there.

pigletmania Thu 31-Jan-13 12:06:34

I like it, no need to think to dress dd 5 in, everyn looks the same, not someone comes to school in head to toe designer, and the other primark. It's a respect thing, also when a uniform is worn I think that it promotes wrk mode, ready to get down and do some school work

Sprink Thu 31-Jan-13 12:08:11

"I also think that this is the reason why most Italian men and women 'get' fashion. they know how to dress, because they experimented with it all their life."

This amused me greatly. By this reasoning, Americans should also know how to dress. Anyone been to Disneyworld lately?

As for the uniform debate, having experienced both sides, I'm pro-uniform. And I'm left wondering how serious are those who feel uniform constrains a child's personality and ability to express her/himself. Really?

Actions and words are far better ways to do so than clothing. Particularly for children.

pigletmania Thu 31-Jan-13 12:09:56

You are entitled to yur opinions op bu not everyone agree Wth them, people have very valid points

Uniform makes the week days sooo much easier. They get their stuff out the night before and just put it on in the morning. When they've 'won' a non-uniform day for their class its murder with them deciding what to wear.

And I don't mind if the shoes can't be worn anywhere else, we walk to school and by the time they grow out of them they are so knackered that they are not fit to be worn anywhere else.

Our school has its own bus and takes the kids on a trip every half term. I should think looking after a bunch of children that are all dressed the same makes the day much easier for the teachers to keep track of where they all are.

As the majority of school have a uniform I would like to know how many of you uniform lovers actually have experience of a school that is entirely non-uniform?

I do. My third child is currently in Year 1 and her older sisters both went through the same school. So that's nearly 16 school years worth. None of them have EVER come home upset about their clothes or the clothes other children wore. Nothing has been 'ruined'. I love sending my children to school dressed as them not as a dowdy clone. I love that I simply refresh their wardrobes all year round not in a panic sticken 'their skirts are too short burst'.
My child's school has excellent results and discipline. The jumper you wear isn't going to take an exam for you. We don't argue in the morning. They know what is 'for best' and anything else can be worn and enjoyed.

What the parents in this country SHOULD be doing is shouting loud and long for the burden of uniform to be removed from our primary schools. I think sending 4 yr olds to school in plastic trousers and bland shirts and blithering sewatshirts is borderline cruel actually.
'Uniform is easier'...er no it isn't actually. If you think it is you're deceiving yourself.

guineapiglet Thu 31-Jan-13 12:16:45

I agree with a lot of posters about the price of 'the school uniform shop' and only one supplier - these are monopolies which cost a fortune - a plain white blouse with TINY school logo at my daughter's state school cost £9 a throw..... but uniforms can promote a sense of 'corporate' identity and hopefully loyalty to the school, are enormously practical in many respects - they just need to be cheaper.

My main gripe is the strict adherence to blazers in winter - why is this necessary? Wouldnt it be better for schools to just stipulate that from Oct to March kids should just wear plain black warm and waterproof winter coats - no blazers. OR coats with school logo as long as not too expensive. I see most of the kids round here wearing blazers in all weathers because the schools insist they have to wear coats on top of blazers - this is just plain stupid - if it is raining or snowing then most normal people would wear something functional and appropriate to the climate. Kids just wont wear winter coats ON TOP of these - therefore arrive home wet through or frozen because they dont want to look uncool wearing two layers - the schools insist they wear blazers in class, so the coat therefore has to be stuffed into school bag - it is crazy.

naughtycloud1 Thu 31-Jan-13 12:18:29

i,m lucky that my daughters uniform is quite simple at the moment. i can understand if you were going to a private school or for that matter any other school it would be quite expensive. but if you payed in a private school wouldent you want your son and daughter to look smart with there uniform? has i,m sure you would want them to look smart in a non privateschool wearing tescos brand.hmm

lynniep Thu 31-Jan-13 12:19:02

Well I like uniform. What I don't like is the 'branding' of uniform that pushes the price up as you can only buy it from specific suppliers at hiked up prices. If a school chooses a colourway that can be bought locally and easily then I'm all for it. I think it promotes a sense of belonging and it does make like easier for ME. I am not deceiving myself, thank you. Borderline cruel? PMSL.

theodorakisses Thu 31-Jan-13 12:20:06

For me, it stopped me standing out as the Clothkits kid. Everyone else had lLadybird. Bloody hippy parents...

Toast123 Thu 31-Jan-13 12:20:14

Uniform gives children something practical and comfortable to wear, imagine a load of floaty skirts and ballet pumps. Or changing for swimming with fiddly buttons and straps on things. Or being too hot/ cold.
Scruffy uniforms are awful so I do think schools need to be fairly strict on what is/ isn't allowed.
Also I do not fancy naming every piece of clothing they own!

Ragwort Thu 31-Jan-13 12:22:42

Well, I am very happy to send my DS to school looking like a dowdy clown ; personally I loathe the obsession with 'fashion' and 'appearance' both for children and adults (and I used to work in the fashion industry, it is so shallow grin). I am delighted my DS doesn't have to obsess over what he wears for school; his school doesn't have 'exclusive' type uniform, most of it is bog standard and can be bought from the supermarket or charity shops.

I was more than happy to send him to primary school in uniform, wish there had been uniform at nursery actually grin.

We all have different opinions of what is 'easier' - and the fuss he makes about what to wear for his youth club is enough to put up with once a week !

morethanpotatoprints Thu 31-Jan-13 12:25:16

Since we started H.ed in September dd's wardrobe fiasco winds me up and I would love to go back to a uniform just some of the time.
There is no choosing what to wear, fewer items to wash, and as others have said not ruining clothes with glue etc.

I do think dc like uniform though and can miss it when no longer there. My dd is designing her own atm and using fabric paint on her t shirt, lol. smile

Toast I don't name anything other than coats and gloves and PE kit. Because they all wear their own clothese they are all dressed differently. There's no need to name anything because you're not trying to distinguish between 26 identical trousers or shirts.

In terms of practical my daughter is wearing spotty cord trousers today with a scottish rugby shirt first owned by her big sister. Time to take on or off - about 10 seconds. She looks lovely smile

kimorama Thu 31-Jan-13 12:25:25

I never wore one. But can see there are advantages and disadvantages.

PurpleStorm Thu 31-Jan-13 12:28:08

I like uniforms.

I used to get very very stressed about non-uniform days at school. I'd have been a nervous wreck of a child if I'd had to pick out my own clothes every day.

But I do agree that schools should try and make them affordable for parents and not insist on them all being branded clothes from one expensive supplier.

I went to a non-uniform primary, then uniform for senior school, and v strict dress code in sixth form.

I remember my friends at a different sixth form being admiring and envious of my plain black suit, white shirt, any plain v-neck jumper when I visited them one lunchtime.

On the whole I think uniform is pointless and indulgent at primary school; uniform is useful at secondary school so long as it is sensible (jumpers, preferably not cheap logo crap, and not blazers, etc); and professional dress code for sixth form sensible and good practice for adulthood. Very few workplaces have no dress code at all.

DonderandBlitzen Thu 31-Jan-13 12:29:34

I'm interested to know what the three outfits are that everyone wears in Sweden. grin

Purplestorm - my experience is that if own clothes are the norm the stress is actually much, much less. Clothes are clothes, something to cover the body. When it's non-uniform days only it is a much bigger deal. You cannot take the child's reaction to a non-uniform day as a representation of how they would react to no uniform ever. It's a completely different scenario.

allrightluv Thu 31-Jan-13 12:33:26

what NorthernLurker said.

sayanything Thu 31-Jan-13 12:34:41

I'm pro uniform as well. Had to wear one throughout my school years and the fact that I didn't have to concern myself with what I would wear everyday was great - especially in those awful teenage years when you're really self-conscious.

I'm not so sure about the UK way of going about things though. I spent a few years in Cyprus and there all schools - whether public or state - have the same uniform. It's impossible to tell which school one attends and you can buy the uniform from just about anywhere. Downside, it was truly horrible and girls could only wear skirts in my day (I gather this has now changed).

MagicMN Thu 31-Jan-13 12:34:50

OP, i recommend you to go to a secondary school in italy and see the effect of not having a uniform.
In primary, until the age of ten, we must use "grembiuli" like this one. http://www.thehouseofblog.com/divertimenti/i-grembiuli-per-la-scuola-elementare-piu-amati-dai-bambini/attachment/grembiule-blu-scuola-elementare-bambina-trilli/

But from 11 to 18 it is a cruel fashion show. And it is so nice not to have battles in the morning. How many arguments with my mother when i was 14 because i wanted to wear a very short skirt, or i wanted Armani jeans at school.
No, the uniforms are to be kept!!!!

MagicMN Thu 31-Jan-13 12:35:07
cheeseandpineapple Thu 31-Jan-13 12:36:20

Conferencepear, is it possible that the girls' preening and self consciousness on mufti day is because they are not used to wearing their non uniform clothes with their friends and that it heightens the discrepancy outside of school or when they are allowed non uniform clothes at school?

My kids don't wear uniforms. My daughter loves to preen but she saves that for the weekends and wears, practical, functional, clothes to school. The children barely give each other a second glance during the week or on weekends about what they're wearing as it is so natural for them to be in their regular clothes.

I was always paranoid about what to wear outside of school when meeting my friends as there was so much competition to look cool outside of uniform. This pressure wouldn't be so intense if you don't have a uniform, as the tendency is to adopt certain types of clothes for school, in effect a type of uniform develops but without the pressure to compete on clothes, particularly if it starts from an early age and that's all you've ever known.

I also think non uniform gives a school a more creative ambience. Uniforms create a more formal, serious environment. Maybe that's what some people want, particularly as children get older.

But as it happens, work places are getting more casual these days.

I can see the advantages of uniform too but for now, happy not to have them and my kids are too.

Toast123 Thu 31-Jan-13 12:38:34

Northern, my children board so I have to name stuff so it can be washed etc.
Spotty cords do sound gorgeous and practical.
I asked the children I teach if they liked their uniform or how they would change it and the answer was a definite yes they liked it and the occasional non- uniform day was fun too.

Sprink Thu 31-Jan-13 12:40:44

My children actually do have choice about what to wear, as their school has a multi-coloured option for shirts and jumpers. Never once have I seen or heard my boys express a preference of colour. One, however, tells me constantly that he won't be wearing his coats, hats, or gloves, thanks very much it's a pain to lug and it gets too hot when we're playing football at lunchtime, mummy.

The other boy wants to never wear a jumper. Ever. Presumably for the rest of his life.

My daughter is another story. She wants to wear 'clip clop' heels to school, she wants to wear 'go go' boots to school, she wants to wear summer dresses in December, and have rainbows swirl around her everywhere she goes.

Now I think of it, their personalities are coming through quite clearly. Even though they're constrained by the evil school uniform. ;-)

allrightluv Thu 31-Jan-13 12:42:49

MagicMN, that might be the case for Italy, but it isn't in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Holland, Switzerland and France (don't know about the other countries).

honeytea Thu 31-Jan-13 12:43:40

I'm interested to know what the three outfits are that everyone wears in Sweden.

Dark jeans with a shirt and jumper

Jeans/shorts with a white light material top for women (but only very close to midsummer)

Jeans and a simple top for women the rest of the year.

You can only buy black jackets, you need a winter and a spring/autumn jacket but both must be black.

Everyone drives navy blue Volvo estates.

All the children are tall and blonde, I once lost 2 children in a kids museum and asked a security guard if he had seen them, I told him tge were tall and blonde and he said all kids are tall and blonde.

nokidshere Thu 31-Jan-13 12:44:12

It doesn't bother me one way or the other to be honest, although my younger son would take much longer to get dressed each day if he had to wear own clothes!!! He is such a little diva!! They go to a school with uniform so they wear it - although I do think PE kits should be made much cheaper - do they really need a logo on navy shorts?

I have one boy who would live in the same pair of trackies and t shirt given the chance, and one that wouldn't be seen dead in trackies.

I do think it could be easier though - a uniform for all of black trousers and white top with maybe just a jumper with a logo (easier to identify when 5 schools all the same events)

FossilMum Thu 31-Jan-13 12:45:38

I went to a non-uniformed high school, and everyone seemed fine if you wore the unofficial uniform of some sort of jeans and some sort of top.

During my 1-year stay at a uniformed primary, I hated non-uniform day. With 3 days' notice I discovered that all the girls were expected to wear their prettiest dresses. I didn't have any dresses, so I stood out like a sore thumb in my uniform. Me and the sad, strange girl with no friends whose older sisters had run away from home. At least I kept her company that year…

Haberdashery Thu 31-Jan-13 12:48:44

>> Conferencepear, is it possible that the girls' preening and self consciousness on mufti day is because they are not used to wearing their non uniform clothes with their friends and that it heightens the discrepancy outside of school or when they are allowed non uniform clothes at school?

Totally agree with this. I went to a secondary without uniform (probably the one Hully mentioned earlier) and there was absolutely no issue with clothes. It made clothes less of an issue, not more of one.

FossilMum Thu 31-Jan-13 12:51:45

Oh, and because the uniform was a bit half-hearted, the fact that some of us had tunics made out of polyester and shaped like sacks, while others had tunics that were tailored and draped nicely, was even more noticeable than it would have been if we'd all been wearing the clothes of our choice.

MagicMN Thu 31-Jan-13 12:52:33

Allrightluv, i do not see what you are worried about:are you scared of your children being lost in the conformity? Do you find them expensive?
I think uniforms are the only decent thing of the whole UK education system really.
I am happy that my son smears glue, pain and rolls in the classrom wearing the uniform that is , DEFINITELY, cheaper than his weekend clothes (uniform trousers:4.50 £ from BHS, weekend trousers: between 8 and 15£. Same can be applied to polos and jumpers).

I don't like them myself. I never had a uniform in school and, therefore, was actually dressed appropriately for school. Ie, sneakers for running around on the playground, jeans I could get dirty or messy, a t-shirt and maybe shorts for a hot day, or a sweater and sweatshirt for a cold day. Easy.

Some people have managed to cut down on the clothes in their kids' wardrobes with a uniform policy. Fantastic. This is so not the case with my DSD, who not only has enough uniform to get her through a week, but also drawers full of out of school clothes that she hardly ever wears before outgrowing, except for the weekends (thank you, Grandma).

Her school is not very specific about what is and isn't allowed to be worn (save the color); this gives us some flexibility with what to buy, but it also means DSD gets laughed at if she wears the "wrong" thing, such as a long-sleeved button down blouse when all her other friends are wearing short sleeved polos. So, the uniform policy has done sweet FA to solve that. sad And I'm sorry, but plimsolls are a really poor version of shoes. How can anyone expect kids' feet to be supported during gym class when they're wearing those flimsy things? confused

#cultureshock

allrightluv Thu 31-Jan-13 13:01:14

MagicMN, I just think they're unnecessary, impractical and naff. Come on, what girls in this day and age still wear skirts and ankle socks to school other than the English? Where are "boyfirend cardigans" (ASDA school clothes range) marketed to reception aged girls? How will those girls ride bikes, climb trees? Oh, hang on, they don't! School uniforms are contributing to stereotyping boys and girls. Very backward. (Just like princess/car stickers for girls/bosy on clothes pegs but that's a whole different topic.)

ScaredySquirrel Thu 31-Jan-13 13:01:35

my children have been to both uniform and non-uniform wearing schools.

now most of them are at non-uniform wearing schools. I much prefer them. We don't have any problems deciding what to wear as they we only buy clothes that they like in the first place.

the biggest plus for me is that uniforms are made of such nasty polyester fabric that I can't bear and which looks hideous.

We had more issues with my daughters when they wore uniform with discussions over whether they were wearing trousers, pinafores, skirts, tights, etc and they were always cold in winter too. Plus they didn't look smart because everyone wore different things!

ConferencePear Thu 31-Jan-13 13:03:49

Cheeseandpineapple - you are right of course that the novelty probably makes the preening worse. The element of it that I really hate is the way it highlights the differences in the financial situation of the parents. The kids know it exists but non uniform seems to underline it.
We did try non-uniform for a while and the girls weren't too bad - the boys took it as a licence to wear dirty jeans and trainers. That was some time ago though so things may have changed.

ILoveTIFFANY Thu 31-Jan-13 13:05:52

Skirts and ankle socks aren't actually school uniform..., that's a choice between parent/child

My dd managed to climb trees... She wore trousers! hmm

pigletmania Thu 31-Jan-13 13:05:52

Well northern that's how you feel does not mean everyone has to share your view hmm. Yes I personally do find it easier, I don't have to think what to put on dd each day, oh no she worse this today if she wares it tomorrows he might get funny looks. I prefer it personally. I used to love my uniform and feel so proud of it when I was at school.

Samu2 Thu 31-Jan-13 13:06:36

I am very pro uniform. I love that it saves money on clothes and it is so easy to get ready in the mornings.

I also love how everyone looks the same so there is no bullying over people not being able to afford the latest trainers and jeans.

And of course they just look smarter.

MagicMN Thu 31-Jan-13 13:08:16

I think younare reading too much into it. It is a way to dress for school, that's it. As a mother, i am happy that uniforms preserve their better clothes. Do they want to climb on a tree? Do it (do they do it at school, btw?).
The only thing that i do not like is to have them wearing uniforms at home. Infact, as soon as my son comes home, he changes straight away, wears "his" clothes, wash his hands and he eats his snack. The uniform is like the suit for me and my husband to go to the office...nothing else!

MagicMN Thu 31-Jan-13 13:09:20

Samu2 i agree. If it was for me, they should have also uniform school boxes! Hahah

KC225 Thu 31-Jan-13 13:09:41

Allright: I can assure you that when my children (boy and a girl) come home from school, change out of their school uniform they are climbing trees and riding bikes, as they do at the weekends and school holidays.

I've seen girls wearing school skirts and ankle socks on girls in Africa, India and Vietnam

trockodile Thu 31-Jan-13 13:09:43

We are in Germany at the moment and the schools have no uniform-it makes life incredibly simple and the kids wear jeans/joggers/pinafores/shorts-I love that they can dress appropriately for the weather. I have never seen any indication that the children view it as a fashion show, DS (7) has never lost anything (and he is incredibly scatty!) and because I choose clothes which wash well nothing has been ruined. The closest he came to teasing was when he wore his rather colourful boden tartan trousers-the kids asked if they were pyjamas-he told them that they are very comfy and warm and he loves them-no more teasing and he continues to wear them!
All the teenagers I see wear jeans and tops -have never seen girls at school looking inappropriately dressed or like a fashion show.

pigletmania Thu 31-Jan-13 13:09:48

I totally disagree allright, I used to wear boys uniform trousers and boys pullover (I was a Tom boy) and my hair was short and spiky, no gender stereotypes there. I some times put dd5 in boys trousers.

chicaguapa Thu 31-Jan-13 13:12:29

DH has always felt that uniform allowed the students some way of rebelling against the institution of school in a safe (but more controlled) way. Though he used to get very exasperated with having to spend the first 5 minutes of every lesson getting everyone to tuck in their shirts and sort their ties out. (School policy)

allrightluv Thu 31-Jan-13 13:19:31

rebelling against the institution of school in a safe way not here: you can see secondary school kids taking drugs and smoking pot right in front of the school. Also teachers tent to have seperate car parks as they otherwise get their cars smashed. You don't get that in Germany.

Pandemoniaa Thu 31-Jan-13 13:22:01

I have very mixed feelings about school uniform. Not helped by the hideous versions that my private schools imposed on me. But I don't rate conformity highly either and I do think that uniform does little in the way of overcoming differences in income since there are all sorts of subtle indications that demonstrate which children come from more advantaged homes.

If a uniform is practical and can be bought anywhere then it does make life easier in the morning. My dcs's primary school asked that the children wore certain colours (white polo shirts, grey or black trousers or skirts) and a red jumper or sweatshirt. All of this could be bought cheaply and easily.

I do object to state secondary schools who regularly change the uniform with each change making it ever more difficult (if not downright impossible) to buy uniforms from anywhere but an official stockist. I also object to lengthy and dictatorial uniform lists on which all items are claimed to be essential. Only to discover that when your child starts in Year 7, fully equipped at considerable cost, that at least a third of the stuff will never be worn.

googlyeyes Thu 31-Jan-13 13:22:21

Fucking love uniform. Cannot understand a single argument against it.

What is so wrong with kids learning that at certain times they have to conform? And as for 'expressing personality', what a load of tosh. They're not like lines of robots simply because they're wearing the same thing! The kids manage to express their personalities just fine.

Funnily enough I've never heard a primary child complain about a uniform, only parents. DD is thrilled to bits with her smart (state) uniform and is really proud to be identifiable as a member of her school. It also really differentiates her free time when she gets to pick her own clothes/ shoes at weekends and holidays.

I'm another one who hated mufti day at secondary school, and faked illness for every single one. Not because we were poor but because the mean girls had a field day ripping everyone to shit for weeks afterwards for some perceived fashion flaw

PartTimeModel Thu 31-Jan-13 13:22:35

I was thinking just this morning about just how happy I was about DD (recpt) wearing a uniform. For the record I didn't wear one until High School so it was a strange concept to me.

It takes so much pressure off the children re clothes, status, age inappropriate dressing etc etc. I think it's a good thing that the focus on appearance is on being the same, rather than being different. Be different with your personality, and what you do and achieve. Individual looks are immaterial when it comes to academic and school issues.

There is increasing pressure on ever younger girls re their looks, and how 'important' looks should be to them. This is very sad and potentially very damaging. Thanks goodness the uniform takes a lot of this pressure out of the day. It's functional, it looks OK, it's really easy to manage, and I think especially in years to come it will take a lot of the potential for pressure re image & material possessions away from my little girl's life.

Re the comments about not doing it in Sweden, this is the UK, not Sweden. Society is very different in LOTS of ways.

MarshaBrady Thu 31-Jan-13 13:23:12

Love that ds has a uniform.

KC225 Thu 31-Jan-13 13:23:39

allright: Come on, fess up - are you Michael Gove?

googlyeyes Thu 31-Jan-13 13:24:07

there are all sorts of subtle indications that demonstrate which children come from more advantaged homes

but without uniform you would be removing subtlety altogether

PartTimeModel Thu 31-Jan-13 13:25:01

I actually think wearing a uniform cherishes & supports valuing an individuals personality over appearance, rather than teaching them to conform.

Of the many way a child can grow and express their personality and individuality, what they wear and how they look is way way way at the bottom of the list.

shallweshop Thu 31-Jan-13 13:25:12

I love the fact that my DC wear school uniform and so do they. I like it because DD would be a nightmare if she had a choice each day and we would certainly have more rows. The uniform is reasonably priced and very easy to wash and iron (actually, don't even need to iron skirts/trousers but I mainly do). It's great when they go on school trips as it is easy to identify them. Also I think if an older child decided to play truant, they would be easily identified.

The children like the sense of 'belonging' to a school they are proud of.

In terms of being 'conformist', normally on a mufti day, they are all dressed v. similarly any way - they like to dress like their peers.

Toast123 Thu 31-Jan-13 13:27:52

I do think there is something to be said for slightly more expensive natural fibre type uniforms. Instead of children having 5 cheap shiny sweatshirts buy them one nicer one and they learn to look after it.

abbyfromoz Thu 31-Jan-13 13:28:45

Just choose a school that doesn't require a uniform? Personally i grew up going to a fee paying uniform wearing school... Summer uniform, winter uniform, blazers, tights the whole shebang! And as we all moaned about it i think we all secretly liked it... Except when i got in trouble for wearing the wrong colour hair elastic! But i felt it promoted pride and respect for our school. We always looked smart.

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Thu 31-Jan-13 13:33:06

Saves me ten crucial minutes while the DC are dressing for school - worth their weight in gold <not a morning person>

Yay4may Thu 31-Jan-13 13:35:25

I would buy the uniform argument except I hate ours because it's of such bad quality and still expensive. And DD goes to what might be considered a posh school.
I'd much rather go to GAP or some such (uniforms are same price) and buy some nice cotton clothes which I would not care if DD mucked up.
Anybody have uniforms that are actually nice?

DewDr0p Thu 31-Jan-13 13:39:17

I'm very much pro uniform, for the same reasons as everyone else!

My Mum transformed a struggling primary school 25 years ago - establishing a uniform was a key part of their strategy for raising standards and behaviour and it worked.

Haberdashery Thu 31-Jan-13 13:40:56

>> I've never heard a primary child complain about a uniform

Come to my house and listen to my six year old whinge approximately four days a week! She had a year of no uniform and then they brought one in. She loathes it.

Haberdashery Thu 31-Jan-13 13:42:24

There is no evidence to show that uniforms are instrumental in raising academic standards, DewDr0p. The Sutton Trust lists it as among the least effective ways to improve a school.

DownyEmerald Thu 31-Jan-13 13:42:24

I like it more than I thought I would.

DD at a church primary, apart from the logo'd t-shirt/sweatshirt (on their third school year now), the rest can be (and is) a mixture of inexpensive handmedowns/M&S/John Lewis/ebay/Sainsburys. The other regulations are sensibly relaxed - "grey", "dark", no specific shades or shops.

I don't do ironing anyway, but it doesn't need ironing.

She likes to wear her school shoes quite a lot out of school - so they do wear out, it's not just being grown out of.

And she looks so cute in the first day photos for the gps.

I also as a teenager had weeks of planning and angst for any non-uniform day. This might have been less if it was non-uniform all the time, but I don't think it would have totally disappeared. And I do agree with the "give them something to rebel against" school of thought.

guineapiglet Thu 31-Jan-13 13:43:30

My son had chronic eczema on his legs, and the teflon coated school trousers were a nightmare in making it worse..... We had endless to ing and fro ing with the Head, who would not bend on school uniform trousers ( and once humiliated him in front of the whole school for daring to wear identical, cotton trousers sad)- there are several outlets now which do now produce cotton school trousers and skirts, but at a premium price - M and S do a range, and so do GAP, plus the dreaded Amazon did a good quality cotton range last year ( trutex cotton trousers).

School sweatshirts are literally that because they are usually polyester and also not great for kids with sensitive skin. - I have been part of a campaign to put pressure on school uniform suppliers to provide a decently priced cotton alternative to all components of school uniform.

Renniehorta Thu 31-Jan-13 13:43:40

I used to be a little anti uniform despite being a secondary teacher. However on a CPD day I spent a day in our largeswt feeder primary school. It was a cold day in February and I was so shocked by what the children were wearing. The school was in the poorest area of town and although there was a uniform it was not enforced.

The children were mostly painfully thin and wearing thin cotton clothes with track suit tops. They were mostly wearing plimsols. They were the younger siblings of my students. Yet at secondary school, where the uniform could be enforced, there was no clue to how poor they were by what they were wearing. They would mostly have qualified for a school uniform grant.

Since that experience I have been 100% for school uniforms.

jennymac Thu 31-Jan-13 13:45:56

I think school uniforms look much smarter. I worked as an english assistant in France for a year and just thought the whole non-uniform thing was a bit scruffy looking in general. Plus, the number of times I got mistaken for a pupil and was shouted at for being out of class was unbelievable!

Fowey123 Thu 31-Jan-13 13:46:46

Definitely for a uniform! Easier for parents and also teaching staff as we all know what is expected. If there isn't a uniform, are they allowed jeans, are they allowed shorts, how short can the skirts be, and so on. A uniform takes away all those issues and makes family life easier in the morning.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 31-Jan-13 13:51:26

I wish uniform for little kids would just be a sweatshirt and tracky bots in the school colours. I hate all this polo shirt/ scratchy grey "slacks"/shiny black shoes awfulness.
It's not comfy or practical.
School uniform for older kids mainly exists so that men in white vans can lean out and shout at the girls with their uniform skirts as short as they can make them.
Secondary kids always look either scruffy/ geeky or slutty no matter what. (I always managed all three!)
In fact, if I was prime minister secondary school uniform would be plain jeans and a sweatshirt. Easy.

TuppenceBeresford Thu 31-Jan-13 13:57:06

Those who don't understand school uniforms have obviously never been the poor kid of the class.
^^
This

I would have LOVED a uniform in my school. I was always the kid with the "wrong" clothes and my life was made miserable because of it.

But I guess it doesn't matter if the poor kids to get bullied as long as the OP's children get to express their individuality. hmm

DonderandBlitzen Thu 31-Jan-13 13:59:08

Plus, the number of times I got mistaken for a pupil and was shouted at for being out of class was unbelievable! grin I hope they were very apologetic when they realised!

My dds wear a shirt and tie from Y1 and although they don't ever complain, i notice that my 5 year old always strips down to her vest and pants as soon as she gets home, so she can't find the uniform very comfortable. I dont remember her doing this in Recep when she wore a polo shirt and sweatshirt which was probably more comfy.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Thu 31-Jan-13 13:59:33

I don't have a problem with DC wearing a school uniform, for many different reasons pp have already listed.

I felt I had to add my bit though: to the posters mentioning uniforms hampering their DC individuality - there are many, many other ways of expressing individuality/being a free thinker without being obsessed with what you look like.

Februaryfun Thu 31-Jan-13 14:00:41

Another pro uniform

Love that it gives a sense of belonging. its like wearing your team colours. It's easy for parents and means students focus their energy on other things rather than what people wear.

I used to like wearing my school uniform. i also remember wearing brownie uniform to school once a year as a highlight of my childhood.

Weirdly i chose a career where you can wear whatever you like..

Cakecrumbsinmybra Thu 31-Jan-13 14:01:36

*I actually think wearing a uniform cherishes & supports valuing an individuals personality over appearance, rather than teaching them to conform.

Of the many way a child can grow and express their personality and individuality, what they wear and how they look is way way way at the bottom of the list.*

Ah, you said it a bit more eloquently than I did parttimemodel!

KC225 Thu 31-Jan-13 14:01:59

Well said Cakecrumbs: Individuality is so much more than fabric

Theas18 Thu 31-Jan-13 14:02:03

Love school uniform.

Cheap as chips (per wear, agree £14/blouse for DD2 isn't cheap but 3 blouses last a year or more, and she's still wearing D1s old sweatshirts as spares!).

The stress of non uniform days at times it untrue. That, every day? No ta!

DD1 (and DD2 will) had a dress code for 6th form. Total pain. Open to interpretation - eg " skirt/trousers to be worn with jacket/cardigan of same colour- yup but the " wrong shade of grey" and you'd be pulled up, several skirt/cardi combos needed- can't wear the same every day... etc etc DD is into the 2nd year of her one school skirt!).

DS has the same uniform in 6th form as lower down. Easy! They do seem less strict on what constitutes a " school jumper" which is nice though LOL

allrightluv Thu 31-Jan-13 14:02:04

Those who don't understand school uniforms have obviously never been the poor kid of the class.

Yes, I was. I wore stuff my grandma knitted and stitched together from my granddad's old clothes. When I was older (14+) I combined this with cheap non-brand, but stylish, clothes. I wasn't bullied for this.

guineapiglet that's the reason DS doesn't wear the school jumper, yes. I had luck in the supermarket for pure cotton school jumpers in standard colours (royal blue, navy, grey, red, dark green) and his current sweatshirt was 50p from Sainsbury's.

The next size up were 28p each in Morrisons... grin

BlipbipBeep Thu 31-Jan-13 14:06:38

I agree with the OP.

I hate school uniforms and I was the kid who had to go to school in home made clothes and charity shop hand me downs.

I agree that wealth and status are still shown regardless of school uniforms - haircuts, school bags, even pencil cases have vastly different costs.

Yes some kids get bullied (I never was) but they will get bullied regardless of the clothes that they wear.

atthewelles Thu 31-Jan-13 14:07:07

If people's individuality is suppressed by wearing a uniform, they can't have had that much to start with.

ConferencePear Thu 31-Jan-13 14:11:47

"I would buy the uniform argument except I hate ours because it's of such bad quality and still expensive."

This only applies if you have a single supplier of the . Most modern state schools have a uniform which can be bought anywhere with perhaps just a sweatshirt from school. The same is true of girls and skirts; there is no reason why the girl's uniform should not include trousers.

GrumpyOldHorsewoman Thu 31-Jan-13 14:16:30

I think the wearing of uniforms can make people more judgemental about the clothing of others. If they saw them in civvies every day, it wouldn't be an issue. Most uniforms look minging too -polyester ankle-swinging trews, anyone?

LoopsInHoops Thu 31-Jan-13 14:17:51

Two points. 1. Our school has branded socks. I kid you not.

and

2. Don't Sweden have the highest rate of suicide in the world?

Renniehorta Thu 31-Jan-13 14:19:25

I had to laugh yesterday when my now 25 yo DS and I were waiting at traffic lights. There was a stream of girls on their way home from our local all girls indie. They were all in immaculate uniforms with ankle length skirts and no visible makeup. 'They look great. I love to see a smart uniform'. He said. This from a lad who did everything possible to rebel against and customise his own uniform.

mrsjay Thu 31-Jan-13 14:20:23

Two points. 1. Our school has branded socks. I kid you not.

shock a bit to far.

oh and another thing since when were kids individuals most children especially when they reach a certain age will wear the same clothes anyway so you would have groups all over the place looking the same so why not just wear the school uniform

allrightluv Thu 31-Jan-13 14:20:26

LoopsInHoops:

uk 38

sweden 91

WoTmania Thu 31-Jan-13 14:28:03

I'm quite anti-school uniform these days. I find it utterly pointless. I lived in France as a child and obviously we had no school uniform. I didn't notice any difference in behaviour/discipline and the 'less well off children' didn't get any stick and as eveyone wore there own clothes brands etc weren't really picked out as there was such a variety.
With regards to worries about secondhand clothing etc being picked on: my DSs wear hand-me downs, particularly DS2 as he goes into anything still wearable of DS1's. I'm not buying brand new uniform when there is one sitting in the cupboard.

LoopsInHoops Thu 31-Jan-13 14:30:38

OP

Are you going by Wikipedia? Because WHO disagrees with you. Sweden not top though, but still above UK.

lottiegarbanzo Thu 31-Jan-13 14:33:57

honeytea - my observation on Swedish 'uniform' was based on a week long visit to Lund and Malmo a few years ago, in winter, where my first thought was 'well I like a black polo neck too but is that the only jumper available here?'

I saw, on men and women, all ages from students up:

Black polo neck, or red top, or cream top.
Jeans, chinos or black suit (optional black jacket with jeans).
Maybe there was a bit of blue and a few classic winter patterned jumpers.

There must be more cosmopolitan areas but it was a powerful impression of 'we all shopped from the same catalogue'.

I must say though, that my favourite baby clothes are from Polarn O Pyret, precisely because they're really colourful with interesting patterns and not all stupidly pink! Maybe children have more freedom (or desire) for expression there?

AntimonySalts Thu 31-Jan-13 14:38:30

I love, love, love school uniforms. My DC have very strict uniforms (no horrid polyester trews or sweatshirt/cardy combos), and there is no discussion at all about what to wear.

Many of the children (my own included) wear second hand uniform, so it's not that expensive.

I think the headmistress whom Startail quotes is right about teenage rebellion!

I'm not convinced about hair bobbles having to be the exact same shade of green as their blazers, though.

GrumpyOldHorsewoman Thu 31-Jan-13 14:45:07

lottie - I buy most of my daughter's clothes from Scandinavia (mainly Denmark and Sweden) precisely because it has no characters/lavish branding and is generally quite unisex (most of the everyday items). I love visiting these countries and seeing processions of brightly-coloured, enthusiastic children on excursions (they seem to be out and about quite a bit). If it were viable, I think I would move to Copenhagen in a heartbeat. Everyone seems so much more relaxed. Maybe it's their unwillingness to stifle creativity/freedom of expression from a young age wink.

Tinyflutterby Thu 31-Jan-13 14:46:03

I was bullied at high school as parents could choose whether or not their children wore the uniform and as I did and hardly anyone else did this was the result. Uniforms mean kids are less likely to be singled out for not having the latest 'fashion' or 'brand' and I wouldn't even consider sending my son to a school where they didn't wear uniform. Can't stand all this branded stuff anyway and let's face it, if all the kids are wearing the same branded clothes it's just like a mega-expensive version of a uniform anyway!

Snowkey Thu 31-Jan-13 14:47:04

I think school uniform is used to express the Head Teacher's identity. The uniform has no sense of practicality and is all about image - which IMO is ridiculous for a primary school. Logo'd items are strongly encouraged - who can afford the logo'd stuff when George is a third of the price, so creating a level playing field is clearly not the aim. No trainers, no boots.....yep, cause Mary Janes are so much more practical in a wet cold country. Make it practical, make it affordable, stick to basic simple rules and don't lose a sense perspective - focus on education not the Head's idea of a corporate image.

midastouch Thu 31-Jan-13 15:02:53

Like it. I couldnt tell who had more money than others, i guess that was before mobile phones lol. Other than the odd people who always looked in need of a bath there was no difference in us. I liked it that way! With my own kids i think its good to have uniform saves arguments what to wear. I dont think income was ever expressed by shoes and bags either

cheeseandpineapple Thu 31-Jan-13 15:05:42

For those who do have school uniforms, can girls choose to wear trousers as well as skirts?

I agree with the comments about how unpractical they can be, particularly skirts in the winter if no option for trousers.

In fact skirts anytime of the year are impractical if girls are running around the place, which they should be during breaks.

My daughter rarely wears a skirt to school. Almost always in trousers and a top. But in my day, no option for trousers, only skirts. Which was v sexist.

Ragwort Thu 31-Jan-13 15:14:20

I know this will sound very old fashioned but I do think children need to learn how to dress appropriately for their future work environment and maybe this needs to start at school. Our local sixth form has 'smart casual' dress code but this is not enforced and most of the pupils look incredibly scruffy, most girls wearing the ridiculous denim shorts over black tights look (which is hardly showing their 'individuality') and the boys wearing their trousers half way down their backside. <boak>. Then they wonder why they can't get a Saturday job. grin

I used to interview trainees for the retail sector and yes, I did judge, if someone can't work out how to dress appropriately for an interview then they aren't going to get a second chance.

midastouch Thu 31-Jan-13 15:15:42

Very bad idea! Ive seen the staff at my ds nursery struggling with the current ratios at times, especially when kids need toilet so they're left with more children per nursery nurse. Cant see it working at all for smalled children they wont get the attention they need

Ragwort Thu 31-Jan-13 15:16:23

cheese - I've never heard of a school that doesn't allow girls to wear trousers these days, my DS's schools actively encourages girls to wear trousers as they don't want the battle about skirt lengths.

Boys are not allowed to wear skirts though, do you remember the case last year when a boy insisted on his 'rights' to wear a skirt as he wasn't allowed shorts in the hot weather. grin

mrsjay Thu 31-Jan-13 15:18:55

the only school in our area that doesn't allow skirts for girls is a private school they need to wear skirts infact im sure they are kilts, dd has a friend who goes and she moans in winter she is freezing

woozlebear Thu 31-Jan-13 15:31:42

I'm all in favour of uniform for all the very good reasons already stated, although for me its primary purpose is to create an environment where children can learn that it is our actions and what we say that tell others about our personalities, not what we wear.

I loathe the accepted thought in the UK that you must literally wear your personality or be immediately condemned as hopelessly boring. They're clothes, not a creative statement.

Re the Swedish 'conformist' way of dressing. Most looks in the UK that would presumably not invite the same condemnation are deeply conformist - thery're just conforming to a narrow range of accepted ways of trying to look a supposedly edgy or free spirited. It always seems that a classic/timeless way of dressing invites scorn like no other. Wear exactly the same trendy stuff as 50 other people within a few metres fadius - fine. Wear the same fairly timeless stuff that could come from any time in the last few decades - terminally dull. Wuh?

PartTimeModel Thu 31-Jan-13 15:31:49

my DD (state school) can wear trousers, culottes, skirts or tunics.

melika Thu 31-Jan-13 15:31:59

I'm for uniforms, saves money in long run, end of.

Lemonylemon Thu 31-Jan-13 15:37:44

I'm all for school uniform. But I wish the feck my DD's school had sweatshirts and cardigans which didn't show felt tip marks.

Their sweatshirts and cardigans are bright yellow. All very nice. But felt tip marks do not come out, even with Vanish.

New sweatshirt = £11; New cardigan = £13.

Antipag Thu 31-Jan-13 15:38:19

I am all for school uniform. It is so much easier! Certainly the older children get the longer they pontificate over what to wear, and lets face it they don't like getting up earlier so it just means you would end up being late every day! I also know that it would cost me considerably more to provide suitable non uniform clothing! I like that it is easy to identify which school a child attends instantly and not just when they are misbehaving but, god forbid, our children go missing for any reason whilst under the care of the school it helps people identify easily what school they belong to. DS1 loves his uniform, it is part of the school experience for him. If clothing is the only outlet your children have for expressing their individuality then they can do so after school and at the weekends.

meganw Thu 31-Jan-13 15:42:37

I am a secondary school teacher, and after much thought on this particular matter I think that uniform is largely a good thing. Yes, the teenagers will always try to compete with phones/trainers/hairstyles/bags but if there is uniform it is just one less thing for parents to think about in the mornings, and for young people to compare.

As a teacher in a fairly strict school, I spend a lot of time with my form group (year 10) ensuring that their shirts are tucked in, skirts are a reasonable length and jewellery and make-up are at a minimum. I also check this with each of my classes as they come in to my classroom. Students will complain that how they wear their uniform 'doesn't effect their learning'. They are wrong about this; if teachers insist on a uniform being worn and being worn correctly (the small things), students behaviour, attitude to learning and willingness to follow the rules is better across the board (the bigger things)

I am a supporter of uniform, although I think costs should be kept to a minimum where possible.

AntimonySalts Thu 31-Jan-13 15:47:38

Ragwort, girls can only wear skirts at my DD's school (and not any old skirts: fancy uniform ones). I am delighted, as I hate to see primary school girls in tight polyester trousers. DD and her friends still seem to manage to hang upside down from trees in their skirts. It is a girls' school, so maybe they are less self-conscious?

AlfalfaMum Thu 31-Jan-13 15:52:23

I'm against uniform for primary age, but on the fence for secondary. DD1's uniform costs 400 Euros once I've bought shoes (€40ish, nothing special just Clarks school shoes). I have never spent that on one outfit. I can't afford a second set, because we also have to pay for books, activities and a (not really) 'voluntary' contribution (and no, this isn't private school). On the other hand, I dread to think how competitive they'd get if there wasn't a uniform.
I do wish the uniform was generic though with iron on crests.

lottiegarbanzo Thu 31-Jan-13 15:52:30

woozle the comments on Sweden weren't any sort of judgement (condemnation? scorn? Hmm) about the 'universal look' (which is a different thing from the multiple conformities here), rather a reaction to the OP's comment that in Sweden no-one wears uniform - hilarious because, by choice, all adults appear to wear the same uniform.

Sprink Thu 31-Jan-13 15:55:07

Isn't Sweden responsible for Ikea? Some very useful stuff, but not what I'd call individual. (Never been to Sweden so can't comment on forms of dress or suicide rates.)

Sprink Thu 31-Jan-13 15:59:27

Now going slightly off piste and wondering if school uniforms are linked to the fabulously quirky and "street" reputation of the British fashion industry. Many countries excel at chic and elegant couture, but Britain has a veritable monopoly on the funky stuff. Perhaps that's from years of the dreams of budding designers in polyester school uniform. Ha!

usualsuspect Thu 31-Jan-13 16:03:29

I'm against, I would rather have spent the money I paid out for ugly school uniforms on normal clothes for my DCS.

I found it more expensive to have to buy uniforms and normal clothes so how it can be cheaper I don't know.

usualsuspect Thu 31-Jan-13 16:07:28

Anyone who thinks you can't tell the 'poor kid ' by the wearing of school uniforms is seriously deluded.

Haberdashery Thu 31-Jan-13 16:17:12

>> I know this will sound very old fashioned but I do think children need to learn how to dress appropriately for their future work environment and maybe this needs to start at school. Our local sixth form has 'smart casual' dress code but this is not enforced and most of the pupils look incredibly scruffy, most girls wearing the ridiculous denim shorts over black tights look (which is hardly showing their 'individuality') and the boys wearing their trousers half way down their backside. <boak>.

The thing is, if those children hadn't all been wearing uniform for the past ten years or so, maybe they'd have learnt how to dress appropriately and practically? This was certainly my experience at a non-uniform school - the school down the road which was almost identical in all other respects boasted a profusion of girls wearing frankly ridiculous things at sixth form level when the uniform restriction was lifted whereas we had all learnt by then to wear things that we were happy and comfortable in. OK, it might not have been the smartest stuff in the world but nobody was inappropriately dressed for their activities.

allrightluv Thu 31-Jan-13 16:18:55

to set the record straigth: the swedish don't wear uniforms. you can wear what you want, even in highly professional environments. ok, if you define "uniform" very broadly, dark trousers and jumpers are a kind of uniform, but so is the metall/goth/hipster-look! in general, everything is very informal, e.g. business meetings in saunas. they seem to do fine this way. one of the wealthiest and happiest countries in the world...

trixymalixy Thu 31-Jan-13 16:19:26

I'm pro uniform. Makes it much easier in the mornings. I think it looks smart too.

diddl Thu 31-Jan-13 16:22:09

Yup-we could always tell usual.

I had nylon(?) shirts-that marked me down for starters.

My parents really struggled to buy my uniform-especially the blazer.

It was a wool/felt one with braiding.

It´s polyester now & looks awful!

My children have never worn a uniform & we´ve never had a drama about what to wear!

I´m sure if "uniform" children were just used to getting dressed they wouldn´t have a problem either.

I guess mine do wear a uniform to an extent though-jeans/tshirt/jumper/sweat top or jeans & tshirt or shorts & tshirt!!

And they always both wear coats when necessary!

usualsuspect Thu 31-Jan-13 16:58:43

My DS never looked smart in his uniform grin I don't think kids need to look smart TBH.

Plenty of time to look smart when you are an adult.

CockBollocks Thu 31-Jan-13 17:12:17

No, I hadn't noticed, our schools reinforce how everybody is special, different etc. Constantly.

You do know we are a different country to Sweden and the others you have mentioned? Just because you prefer the way they do things doesnt make it the right way - maybe you should remind yourself of your own statement.

Only because consumerism is so pronounced you have problems having to persuade girls not to wear princess costumes rather than gender neutral clothes (like in Sweden)

What a load of crap. If your letting your kids express themselves and their personalities why is 'gender neutral' the way? IMO this is purely for parents so obsessed with not conforming to gender stereotypes that they have unwittingly created their own gender neutral version.

And while i'm on a rant, many (not all) of the bloody teachers need to smarten up and dress appropriately.

<ducks to avoid barrage of abuse from teachers>

Sprink Thu 31-Jan-13 17:13:20

Am certain no one is Swedish-bashing by referring to "uniform". It's meant more to describe a particular mode or style. Like wearing a suit for working in the city rather than wearing kit to play for Man U.

Let's face it--most teens and adults wear a self-selected "uniform" every day, for whatever reasons. There is appropriate dress for particular occasions--not to stifle personality or creativity or expression, necessarily, just to show respect and good manners. (I hope no one objects to respect and good manners.). Dress is not the only way of showing these things, but it's an accepted form, world-wide.

As previously stated, I've experienced both, and my preference is for uniform. Mostly because I find it easier and it does the children no harm.

cantspel Thu 31-Jan-13 17:13:34

In my sons school the uniform consists of a blazer, shirt and tie, black trousers dark socks and black shoes (no trainers). Girls the same or they can choose to wear a black skirt instead.
The blazer cost between £20 and £25 depending on size from the uniform shop so is a lot cheaper than buying endless fashion jackets or hoodies.

They look smart but not over the top and it is no more expensive than buying non school clothes.

LaVolcan Thu 31-Jan-13 17:15:03

I can't understand this 'smart business dress' i.e. black suits, white shirts for sixth formers. Are they all aspiring estate agents? Just thinking of a few jobs off the top of my head - what would you expect the following to wear: site engineer, surgeon or nurse in theatre, plumber, tree surgeon? In all these cases having the appropriate attire is what is necessary.

Sprink Thu 31-Jan-13 17:16:28

Cockbollocks--I was just about to ask if we could move on to how teachers dress. And why. <ducks with cockbollocks, not necessarily a pretty image>

usualsuspect Thu 31-Jan-13 17:20:24

The smart business dress at 6th form is just weird. Thank god that doesn't happen around here.

I mean I'm assuming they go on to university after 6th form and wear what the bloody hell they like anyway.

cantspel Thu 31-Jan-13 17:21:21

Even if the child has no wish to go into a career where business dress is required they should still learn and be comfortable in smart clothes as there will come a day even if they want to be a plumber they will have interviews whether they be college, uni or for employment.

I know some young people who have never worn a tie in their life and dont even know how to tie one and i wonder what they will choose to wear when they go for their first job interview.

Catchingmockingbirds Thu 31-Jan-13 17:21:55

Different uniforms in 6th year? Here they just wear the same as the rest of the school, why change the uniform for just one year?

CockBollocks Thu 31-Jan-13 17:29:03

I wonder what 'ducks with cockbollocks' look like. grin

<lowers tone>

<proves uniform has no relation to standards>

LaVolcan Thu 31-Jan-13 17:36:02

even if they want to be a plumber they will have interviews whether they be college, uni or for employment. Then smart clean casuals would fit the bill.

It was a local independent school which introduced the 'business suits'. The first time I saw them I felt sorry for them because they all looked as though they had just come from a funeral! They had a perfectly reasonable uniform previously - the sixth formers obvious chose beforehand between either grey or black skirts and then chose what colour jumper their year would wear - absolutely fine for most jobs.

mrsjay Thu 31-Jan-13 17:43:18

My DS never looked smart in his uniform

dd looks like she fell out of bed most mornings and walked out the door hmm

mrsjay Thu 31-Jan-13 17:44:40

Different uniforms in 6th year? Here they just wear the same as the rest of the school, why change the uniform for just one year?

dd school has braiding on their blazers and different ties for 5th and 6th year confused

Burlesquebooty Thu 31-Jan-13 17:47:26

I don't like uniform at all!!

You can clearly still tell who the less fortunate children are anyways. It costs way too much money and schools are really strict where I'm from.
Children are not allowed to wear leggings,uggs,girls are only allowed skirts or school trousers with dolly shoes and all children's shoes have to be 100% black or instant suspension oh and haircuts and styles have to be all pretty similar although its pretty much lower class schools. I think the teachers make more of any issue with it than what disruption the kids are causing with a bit of silver on a pair of shoes.

cantspel Thu 31-Jan-13 17:49:51

smart casual maybe ok for a college interview but not a job or apprenticeship.

Even going for an interview for a job on the tills at tesco would expect to see a tie.

cantspel Thu 31-Jan-13 17:51:27

legging and uggs have no place in a school no matter if there is a uniform policy or not.

Sprink Thu 31-Jan-13 17:59:57

I'd like to believe different uniforms for 6th year is meant to denote a sense of accomplishment and leadership. That there is a level of responsibility and care to the younger ones.

Or, on my experience, it would make it easier for my reception child to identify the year of the child who showed him the v-sign around the tongue and explained in detail its connotations. My boy had non idea whether y4 5 or 6, and a usual suspects lineup would have been out of order. Never did catch the little sod.

<still pro-uniform>

LaVolcan Thu 31-Jan-13 18:02:23

Can't speak for Tesco but my son and daughter both did Saturday jobs at Waitrose and neither wore a tie for the interview! Clean smart clothes and tidy hair yes, because those are important, especially when working on the food counters.

Which to me, just shows how stupid some of the justifications are for some uniform rules.

amazingmumof6 Thu 31-Jan-13 18:09:35

I like it, wish I had it when I was a kid (didn't grow up in UK).

gives a sense of belonging, makes them feel "dressed for the job"

hate disgusting jumpers though and the fact that anything with a logo is unreasonably expensive.

still wouldn't change it.

I`m laughing at the `not being able to tell who the poor children are` what rot, so lets ignore the child wearing the cheap tatty holey uniform in the cheap plastic shoes (yes that was me at school, never forgotten the feeling).

You can try and dress all the children the same, its not that simple, povety will show through very quickly, and bullying afaik has not stopped because of uniform, they just find other things to bully and laugh at, shoes, hair, cash in pockets etc.

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 31-Jan-13 18:15:26

I dont mind it but would prefer non uniform as love to see childens own tastes shine through rather than them all looking similar.

Its still easy to spot the "poorer" children so i dont think its makes a level playing field at all.

CockBollocks Thu 31-Jan-13 18:28:59

usual

I'm sure that they didn't wear jeans & t'shirts though?
That is where I think that uniform teaches us that certain clothes are appropriate at certain times. Some clothes are not suitable for school, tracksuit bottoms for example.

If they wore jeans and t'shirts then I am shock

DonderandBlitzen Thu 31-Jan-13 18:31:08

Hopefully there should be no need for any child to be wearing holey uniform nowadays as Tesco sells an entire school uniform for £3.75. (Polo shirts at 50p, sweaters at £1.75 and trousers or skirts for £1.50.)

I'm chilled actually, that people think primary aged children aren't too young to learn to conform and wear the same thing as everybody else. Why exactly? What do we think childhood is? Simply an audition for the adult world? That explains a lot....hmm

I have absolutely no patience with the 'we would argue about what to wear' either. You're the parent. It's up to you to be able to agree what is and isn't reasonable with a child. You shouldn't rely on a ruling on polyester to do that bit of parenting for you.

I think uniforms make sheep - of parents and children.

Do we think it's enviromentally or ethically responsible to be buying clothes sold for 50p a time? Not to mention having to wear the horrible things.

Other than charity shop/ebay purchases are any parents out there sitting in a £1.50 pair of trousers?

thekidsrule Thu 31-Jan-13 18:38:31

having a role eye moment with the "like to see the individuality shine through" or words to that effect regarding non uniform

dear god it's a uniform kids wear not an offensive or personality restricting item confused

AmberSocks Thu 31-Jan-13 18:42:21

it is though.

LaVolcan Thu 31-Jan-13 18:45:12

Agree with your last two posts NorthernLurker.

thekidsrule Thu 31-Jan-13 18:47:27

school ujniform for Primary is pretty cheap and some secondary (round here)

much cheaper for me to buy that than "normal"teenage fashion

im talking buying from asda,m&s etc

appreciate not all schools are like this

thekidsrule Thu 31-Jan-13 18:49:40

amber

if that was to me why ????

if not ignore it grin

Yabu-There would be even more bullying to be done if there were no school uniform.
And some children haven't got as much money as others so you can inagine the ribbing over trainers, branded clothing etc.

I personally think uniform is nice, looks smart and on trips all children are visible to the teachers and pupils stand out to the public if things are witnessed.

MissBetseyTrotwood Thu 31-Jan-13 18:52:45

I don't think uniform inhibits uniqueness. On the contrary, if you all look the same you have to work harder to express your difference. Just wearing the clothes of your 'tribe' is the easy part of belonging.

That said, it doesn't bother me really either way.

LaVolcan Thu 31-Jan-13 18:56:17

Some uniforms look smart, some look a mess.

On trips - it depends. Certainly on a primary school trip to Hampton Court that I went on I would have been hard pressed to tell which of the hundreds of children wearing blue checked dresses from Tesco belonged to the school I was with.

usualsuspect Thu 31-Jan-13 18:56:25

Did you only buy uniform then? I had to buy uniform and normal clothes for my kids.

My DS had to wear polo shirts with a logo on that cost a lot more than 50p

LineRunner Thu 31-Jan-13 18:56:46

I'm against uniform. My DS's school has gone nuts and imposed an expensive, pretentious, impractical uniform, including - and I kid you not - clip-on ties. Clip-on ties for teenagers. Has the world gone mad?

exoticfruits Thu 31-Jan-13 18:56:51

I am very glad of it-my life would have been a nightmare if it had been up to my mother what she bought.
The idea that it promotes conformity makes me laugh! Have you not seen non uniform days? It is a brave DC who doesn't conform if there is no uniform!

cherrycarpet Thu 31-Jan-13 18:57:11

I am very relieved that my 4 children have to wear school uniform. I think it would be mayhem in the mornings if they were all having to decide what to wear. In the case of my twin DD's they'd probably change their minds about 5 times before walking out the door!!

Plenty of time to experiment with their own style at weekends and in the holidays...

I think uniforms are fine as long as they are practical and reasonably relaxed (eg, plain shirt, school jumper and trousers/skirt _ and as long as the girls can wear trousers too). DS is 8 and copes fine with his uniform, being not very interested in what he wears anyway. But when it comes to choosing a secondary school for him, I would avoid anywhere with a fiddly, expensive uniform and lots of petty, pissy rules attached to it, because that would indicate to me a school obsessed with obedeience and trivialities and stupid rules.

greenpostit Thu 31-Jan-13 19:01:58

I love school uniform. My dd would want a variety of dresses to parade about in if there wasn't a uniform. Her school dress was about £5 and saves battles over clothing. I need much less home clothes because she wears uniform.

amazingmumof6 Thu 31-Jan-13 19:05:26

"having a role eye moment with the "like to see the individuality shine through" "

I agree. besides the children I've come across want to be the same or have the same as their friends, same hair, same shoes, toys, food whatever and don't want to stick out like a sore thumb!

I'm all up for individuality and shining through, but that can be achieved academically or creatively or in sport or music or just by having a lovely personality or being a good friend etc. - so many other ways rather than just clothes!

in fact Albert Einstein famously had identical shirts and trousers, he didn't want to waste precious time worrying about what he wears or coordinating his wardrobe - it was far more important for him to spend that time on excercising his genius brain!

so I say less focus on clothes, more focus on homework!grin

LineRunner Thu 31-Jan-13 19:10:17

I'm with SGB. Fine to have a basic dress code to make life easier, but down with 'pissy rules'! grin

Yeah I think uniforms are fine tho as lots of people pointed out kids always find a way of expressing the different social groupings and hierarchy through subtle little things to let you know who's cool and who's not. In my day (lol) me and my rocker friends used to wrip the cuffs our school jumps and patch them up with safety pins to look more punk and wear loads of necklaces just visible above our school shirts. The cool girls rolled their skirts up to be really short. We let our hems down to make ours really long. They wore the highest heeled shoes they could get away with. We wore flat as flat DMs. Ha! Nothing changes!

But I work in a centre with kids 14-17 who don't go to school and so they all wear their normal clothes everyday. But it's tough going because no one has enough clothes to wear a new outfit everyday and the pressure to have a certain brand of clothing or more than 4 pairs of jeans and stuff is scary, esp as these kids are not usually from very well off backgrounds. So in some ways I do think a uniform avoids a lot of that sort of stuff..

exoticfruits Thu 31-Jan-13 19:31:56

I think they should be cheap and hard wearing and are a good thing. However I can't stand seeing tiny tots in ties, blazers-and stupidest of all hats!

bunnybing Thu 31-Jan-13 19:37:48

Well based on my own experiences I'm pro-uniform.We weren't impoverished - my mum was just too tight spend money on clothes. I started juniors (which was non-uniform) and wearing a minging mustard-coloured handknitted jumper, a hand-me-down from a male cousin. Can also remember my teacher praising this garment, saying how lovely the stitching was - my first memory of being patronised.

Agree that even with uniform you can see kids with designer bags etc, but I still think uniform is a leveller. Thank god my secondary school had a uniform!

TrinityRhino Thu 31-Jan-13 19:41:08

linerunner, the clip on ties could be because of trouble with kids trying to yank ties tight on each other

voddiekeepsmesane Thu 31-Jan-13 19:48:26

Really??!! The amount of " oh my child can't be an individual" and "they (uniforms) are a conformist regime" is so silly.

Schools in their nature are conformist, children in (the main) want to be conformist. It is human nature. Some but not many want to be outside the "box".

Uniform in primary at least provides an even playing field when it comes to economic situations.

Though have to admit by secondary, bags and shoes become the "socio economic" factor. Not looking forward to that at all as a family on disability benefits sad

LineRunner Thu 31-Jan-13 19:50:36

Ah, TrinityRhino, by Day 2 most of the clip-on ties had been snatched off and hurled over the fence into the inner marsh by the Year 11s. Oh how we laughed.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 31-Jan-13 20:26:53

'Schools in their nature are conformist'

They really don't have to be.

I'm not a fan of uniforms, mainly because comformism is what they're all about and I don't want a school that's trying to make my kids conform to a narrow social agenda (and it's pretty damn narrow).

Education should be about expanding our minds and our sense of self, exploring the possibilities of the human mind and trying to make the most of what it is to be human. Not playing at working in an office from the age of 5.

Our school has a uniform (school jumper) but no enforcement policy so the children are allowed to wear other things if they want to. I haven't seen any children not in school uniform though as everyone chooses to wear the jumper and most choose black/grey trousers/skirt though there are some who wear jeans or chinos with the jumper instead. I like it, the school has an identity but is relaxed so that if a child has ripped their trousers and has no other clean they don't have to worry about getting into trouble. There are no restrictions on footwear or pe kit as long as they are sensible so no heels I suppose but colours are ok. It's good for my (aspergers) ds who will not wear normal school trousers as they are 'scratchy' so favours fleece lined joggers. He has loads of different pairs and as he often gets muddy at break AND lunch he often changes his clothes several times a day and usually ends up in his colourful joggers by the end of the week grin The school has logo'd jackets, fleeces, gym bags, school bags, polo shirts, t-shirts and hats for those who fancy it, but there are only a handful of kids who have maybe one of those things. I think this is the way to go, have a uniform for those who wish to use it, but don't force parents to spend daft amounts on it by enforcing its use. The likelihood is that most parents would choose to buy the jumpers but not the rest (like here).

voddiekeepsmesane Thu 31-Jan-13 20:33:53

Isn't OUR job as parents to instill individualism and confidence in our children. Children together (society as a whole actually) will always find the unusual...well unusual to be honest.If you as a parent do not want your child to conform to what you perceive as a narrow social agenda then there are several options open to you. Home education, independent schools just to name a couple. We all make choices for our children and as a society there will always be a mainstream.

mathanxiety Thu 31-Jan-13 20:34:26

Designer gear is far less of an attraction if nobody wears a uniform.

When it is only possible to wear mufti on weekends/holidays it becomes infinitely more special and out of uniform days become more of a chance to show off with fancy duds simply because they are such rare events. When children wear their 'own' clothes all day every day all clothes are is clothes. It is amazing how fast clothes fade into the background when children are allowed to wear their own every day. Saw it happen with my own eyes as my older DCs went through high school in the US.

(So what I am saying is probably the polar opposite of CherryCarpet's comments)

MissMarplesThong Thu 31-Jan-13 20:34:45

I have experience both and my opinion is that either a uniform should be both strict and practical according to the demands placed upon it or there should be no uniform.

My DCs current uniform of plastic blazer and plastic school trousers is neither strict nor practical. The blazer is a ridiculous garment - nobody outside of a school or a club wears one. It manages to be the wrong garment no matter the weather.

A school uniform should follow the stricture that uniform isnt uniform unless it is uniform. If a school wants to have a uniform then it should be selected on the basis of the activities being performed - lots of walking, science lessons, art lessons, technology lessons.

Business workwear seems like a good idea to me - cargo trousers, polo shirt, sweatshirt and work boots. An alternative would be to model on the cadet uniform. It's practical and lasts forever.

I havent yet seen a school uniform worth the money which has to be spent on it.

hanahsaunt Thu 31-Jan-13 20:35:24

I am entirely qualified to judge this once and for all ...

I had seven years of children at a primary with uniform; it was fine though personally loathed the trousers. It was a battle most mornings to get them dressed. In hindsight it's probably because they disliked the trousers as much as I did and the general compulsion.

We moved house and thus school to one with no uniform. It made me twitchy. I could rehearse every pro uniform argument in the book. Nearly 2 years down the line (at primary level) I am an absolute convert. Love the no uniform policy. Clothes have not been an issue, getting dressed in the morning isn't an issue any more and it's lovely to see children being children and feeling good about being who they are and free to be expressive.

Ds1 is now at secondary and in uniform and that seems entirely appropriate at that age and stage.

McNewPants2013 Thu 31-Jan-13 20:46:48

I love school uniform when dd was in playgroup the amount of clothes she got through was shocking.

petitdonkey Thu 31-Jan-13 20:53:17

Just for the anti-skirt brigade - my children's school doesn't allow trousers for girls and it really doesn't stop them tree climbing, running etc. It also doesn't mean that they are cold - DD wears tights all winter whilst DS refuses trousers and wears shorts (with short socks) whatever the weather.

edam Thu 31-Jan-13 21:21:43

Interesting, petit. Do you think the kids at primary are too young to be into 'who's got the most expensive clothes'?

ds has a sensible, straightforward uniform that I'm OK about - saves worrying about what to wear in the mornings - but I have discovered one downside... he doesn't have a school tie. Then they needed one for a World War Two day where they had to go dressed as 1940s schoolboys. Got one of dh's ties, only to discovered I have completely forgotten how to tie them, so couldn't show ds! I haven't worn a tie since primary, several decades ago, and just cannot recall how to do it at all.

He's also got to wear a tie to a concert with the school choir soon - it's massed choirs so ties are compulsory, but his school is going to look mighty odd with an assortment of ties borrowed from Dads. grin

edam Thu 31-Jan-13 21:22:29

Sorry, meant hanah, not petit, although petit's point was interesting too. <tries desperately not to offend anyone>

edam - my dds have been right the way through a non uniform school and dd3 is still there. I think reception obviously don't care but like the colours grin Yr 5/6 are certainly old enough but because they've always worn their own stuff and they see each other's clothes ALL the time and not just on show off days non uniform days, it's just less interesting to them.

Just went off and asked dd1 who is now 15 about it and she's just said pretty much word for word what i just typed!

girliefriend Thu 31-Jan-13 21:57:21

Girls not allowed to wear trousers shock how on earth to they get away with that??!

I am not a fan of uniforms and agree with all the points in the op, however the only argument I can think of for uniforms is that some parents idea of 'sensible' clothes would probably be ridiculous. Uniforms should at least be comfortable and practical.

My dd hates wearing dresses and skirts though so think she would have a nightmare at your kids school petit...

wordfactory Thu 31-Jan-13 22:04:45

I like uniform.

I'm grateful no one has to do any serious thinking in the morning.

I'm grateful there are never any disagreements in the mornings over what to wear.

I'm grateful I don't have to second guess the day before what someone may want/need to wear. I know what bits of kit need to be washed, dried,ironed.

I'm grateful that items that still fit and/or are in one piece can be worn for years. No boredom factor. No 'this is no longer acceptable' factor.

I'm grateful that uniform can be passed around without anyone being able to spot it.

I'm grateful that I never have to even consider what might or might not be appropriate.

I'm grateful that no one else can come to school in anyhting inappropriate. Not all parents are able to make sensible decisions it seems!

I also think that uniform actually fosters creativity. Working out how one can customise a uniform is an art form wink.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 31-Jan-13 22:13:33

'Isn't OUR job as parents to instill individualism and confidence in our children'

That has nothing to do with what I said. Individualism and confidence are not antonyms of conformity.

I think conformity is the curse of good education. It ties people into a mindset of parroting knowledge and accepting rather than questioning what is put before them. That is not good education, it's training. I don't think uniform is the biggest signal of this mindset, but I see the push for uniforms going along with a mindset in state schooling that is more about box ticking and turning out product for the work force than about producing bright minds.

Not only do I not want my kids to be pushed into this narrow social agenda, I don't really want my taxes paying for other kids to be pushed into it. But I'd be happy with a bit more diversity in the schooling available.

This "don't like the state schools - HE or go private" tack when people don't like what a state school does is a bit of a pathetic lack of argument and very anti-democratic.

superfluouscurves Thu 31-Jan-13 22:20:45

Definitely, definitely pro-uniform

what wordfactory said + fosters feeling of team spirit

dd's uniform is expensive but v. good quality, washes like a dream and saves me a fortune on mufti clothes

superfluouscurves Thu 31-Jan-13 22:21:46

plus leaves dc free to focus on more important things than clothes

mathanxiety Thu 31-Jan-13 22:24:21

None of my teen DCs ever did any serious thinking about clothes in the morning except for the first week of freshman year.
I had a policy of never questioning what anyone wore --> no disagreements.
I did a wash every day because there were 6 of us and if I didn't clothes tended to pile up.
I handed down every single stitch of clothing that I could to younger members. DS, the only boy, wore the same clothes for years with no boredom apparent -- big basketball style shorts until he grew out of them, big t-shirts until he grew out of them or they fell apart, sweatpants or jeans and hoodies. The only time he ever went through clothes fast was when he had his big teen growth spurt and tbh it was shoes that he went through fastest at that stage. The DDs wore the same sort of clothes -- jeans, shorts, t-shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts -- again no fuss or boredom. They got new clothes when they grew out of the old ones. DD1's jeans usually bypassed DD2 who has a different build, but were fine for DD3. Younger members accepted handmedowns without question and nobody ever commented or spotted it. And nobody was on the lookout for handmedowns either. The DCs were dressed as small children in clothes handed around amongst neighbours and all the neighbour children were too -- everyone had seen everything before, pretty much.
The DCs knew what the school dress code was and were responsible for keeping to it (no midriff baring, no offensive slogans on clothes, no clothes ripped in strategic spots, no gang symbols, no headgear except religious allowed in school, closed toe footwear required for all lab classes)
I used to pass a private, uniform wearing school where the girls took great pains to hoik up their skirts to the nth degree, apparently took pride in the ability of their (blue and blotchy) legs to withstand the harsh winter conditions of the American upper midwest and refused to wear tights, and every single girl wore the same shoes -- at first it was ballet flats for several years and then that changed to deck shoes. And they all wore their hair long and straight. There's only so much you can do to customise a plaid skirt, white blouse and v neck sweater. That particular school had a different skirt and blouse colour for each of the four years.

mathanxiety Thu 31-Jan-13 22:26:58

... and they would have got new clothes when they grew out of the old ones anyway, plus if they had had uniform I would have had to buy new uniform -- teens grow in all directions.

voddiekeepsmesane Thu 31-Jan-13 22:33:00

I never said anything about state vs private, don't be putting words into my mouth please.

I did not grow up in this country and the social system of education baffles me as much as the next person hmm

edam Thu 31-Jan-13 22:37:10

I'm really puzzled by the idea that uniform 'fosters a sense of team spirit' - in what way, exactly? I wore uniform at primary and secondary and can't remember it making me feel part of a team at all. Maybe it fosters the kind of team spirit that means one set of kids will batter another set of kids who just happen to come from a different school with a different uniform, but beyond that, really?

Only argument I can see for it at secondary is that it gives teenagers something safe to rebel against. You don't have to go to dangerous lengths to assert your growing independence, you can just customise your uniform.

superfluouscurves Thu 31-Jan-13 22:50:44

the team spirit thing - my dd feels proud wearing her uniform because it gives her a sense of belonging - she is too young to consider the concept of rival groups or gangs or anything like that

usualsuspect Thu 31-Jan-13 23:24:00

My Dcs hated their uniforms, there was no sense of pride or belonging there.

They wore them because they had no choice.

My daughters haven't worn uniform at primary school - they all adored their school and very much 'belonged'.

There isn't a single argument to be made for uniform other than 'because we say so'

It isn't cheaper, isn't easier, doesn't reduce bullying, doesn't eliminate parent/child squabbles, doesn't make good discipline where there was none. The only things uniforms manage are to make the manufacturers some cash and to get children in to dull, uncomfortable clothes as young as possible.

Parents should be on the streets yelling 'NO UNIFORM TYRANNY HERE' grin but it's so entrenched that it's a good thing that everybody lines up to say 'I heart uniform'. Really? Really? Makes NO sense to me.

thebody Thu 31-Jan-13 23:40:01

Hate hate school uniforms.

I really enjoyed my dss phases of goth, emo, smelly rocker and then by magic transforming into normal adults at 17 and looking lovely.

My dds now as young teens are experimenting and to he fair it often ends in them looking like extras in a pole dancing club but hey they will learn.

I work in a school and have a ridiculously disproportionate time wasted chasing school shirts/shirts that look the same... Just a waste of time for me and a waste of serious cash for parents as kids can't tell the difference between their green fleece and 30 others!

Pathetic.

As for being part if a 'group' then I think that's sad. I always wanted my kids to go their own way and be, as my dds call it being 'indie'' that's individual...

Schools should concentrate on what's important, behaviour, work, manners, aspirations... Not the colour or length of a tie...

SirIronBottom Fri 01-Feb-13 03:11:01

I see the reasons for having uniforms, but I think that special needs children who have trouble dressing themselves are very often marginalised by some teachers who insist on absolutely everything being tickety-boo.

Coralanne Fri 01-Feb-13 03:55:08

Can't see what all the fuss is about school uniforms. My DD wore a drop waisted dress (no hitching up) in summer and a tartan pinafore in Winter. (again no hitching up). She had 4 dresses for summer (sports gear on the 5th) and 5 shirts for winter with the one pinafore. She didn't mind the uniform. It was a fairly exclusive girls school but when they had mufti days or school camps, none of the girls had designer gear . Just basic T shorts, etc.

funnyperson Fri 01-Feb-13 03:55:32

I think uniforms generally need updating with modern materials.
School shirts from asda and acrylic jumpers are horrid if one has big breasts, and feel scratchy.
I think t shirts and hoodys would be perfectly good uniform and more comfy and practical.

funnyperson Fri 01-Feb-13 03:57:19

The tartan pinafore mentioned above would be a nightmare for someone over a 32 bra size.

funnyperson Fri 01-Feb-13 03:59:30

My class still laugh and cringe at the maroon bloomers we wore for PE. I kid you not.

Coralanne Fri 01-Feb-13 04:37:11

I can see where a pinafore might be a nightmare but this one was particularly well cut in fabulous fabric ( yes, rather expensive, but she wore it for 4 years) and I never ever noticed anyone who looked uncomfortable in it. They then went on to a senior uniform.

runningforme Fri 01-Feb-13 06:04:14

I prefer uniform. When we were still in the UK my DS and DD wore school uniform - as long as it was the school colours, it was fine.

Where we are now, there are no schools with uniform except for private or Catholic schools and I miss them! My DD can ruin a pair of jeans (holes in knees, grass stains etc) in 2 weeks, she is that rough and tumble. Uniform back home was easily bought for not much money and took the stress out of the morning routine. I spend so much more replacing clothes now than I did then, and stuff comes home with holes, pen marks, missing buttons etc...

However, I don't agree with policies that are rigid and require you to purchase expensive items that can only be bought at a particular shop. Or that dictate silly things like sock colour

FlatCapAndAWhippet Fri 01-Feb-13 06:21:08

I'm pro school uniform.

Easy and saves money ....and all the children in our primary school look smart.

Tau Fri 01-Feb-13 06:45:51

I'm Dutch - no school uniform there, and I still haven't gotten used to the UK system.

I don't like the uniform very much, but it's no big deal. I do think it's a little patronizing to let kids wear uniforms in secondary school though.

My son has no interest in brands whatsoever. He is perfectly happy to wear charity shop clothes and also gets t-shirts etc. from family for birthdays and christmas. So the uniform actually costs us more money than we would otherwise spend on clothes. Fortunately my son's school has relatively cheap uniforms.

I don't understand why the kids need to wear uniforms when the school personnel doesn't. It'd be easier if the personnel was instantly recognizable by their clothing.

The tie is nothing but a fashion item, and it's completely arbitrary to allow one fashion item and rule out others.

As for conformism - in my experience uniform or no uniform has little impact.
In the Netherlands my son was bullied in school because he's (apparently) unusual, and his teacher actually said that he could understand why the other kids picked on him (because son was so odd)
Here, uniform or not, his individuality has been embraced in primary school and even more so in secondary school. He has not been bullied and has had a very happy school time - uniform or not.

vvviola Fri 01-Feb-13 07:09:15

I love the uniform DD1 has here (NZ). School polo shirt (short or long sleeve), school fleece for winter, and then any black trousers/skirt etc. There are school shorts/skort but they are very much optional.

The principal told me the reasoning was, there was some level of conformity etc, but the option of whatever bottoms as long as they are black helps with the more reluctant uniform-wearers. "You have to wear the t-shirt, but you can have your skirt or trousers"grin

It's also a much more practical uniform for primary age than the one I had at a similar age (tie, pinafore, shirt etc)

WorriedTeenMum Fri 01-Feb-13 07:24:56

In my opinion pride in the organisation fosters pride in the uniform not the other way round

My DS attends a shamefully crap school with a nasty black plastic uniform with clip-on ties. His uniform would not look out of place on a scarecrow. He also attends army cadets - his uniform is crisply ironed by him each week and his boots polished like glass.

Snowkey Fri 01-Feb-13 07:35:45

Didn't foster team spirit or pride when I went to school, we were all very glad to see the back of it, in secondary school it can be terribly unflattering, especially when all those womanly bumps and lumps start appearing. I do wonder about schools that obsess over uniform - have they got nothing better to spend their time on.

MerryCouthyMows Fri 01-Feb-13 07:46:14

It gets DC's used to wearing a tie (very useful if you have a DC with sensory issues through Autism), it gets them used to wearing clothing not of their choosing (useful as a lot of jobs have a crappy uniform), it means that their everyday clothing doesn't get ruined (things like washable paint that stains, permanent marker etc), it can be bought cheaply without looking cheap, and it is a very simple way to allow the DC's to break some unimportant rules (by not wearing their tie properly, leaving their shirt untucked or leaving their top button undone) which often prevents them from breaking the 'bigger' more serious rules.

I for one, despite the extra costs (am on benefits), am happy with school uniform. Mostly because when I started school, my 'progressive' school didn't have a uniform, and the comments and bullying I got about my clothing was horrific.

wisemanscamel Fri 01-Feb-13 08:05:51

I think it's essential at secondary level because it gives the disadvantaged kids one less thing to worry about. I was the poor kid at a non-uniform primary and was bullied because I had to wear hand me downs from a wealthier girl in the class. My mum was friends with her parents and they gave us her clothes. The humiliation of having to wear a patterned skirt to class that another pupil had thrown away was awful, especially as every one knew.

When we got to the uniformed secondary, I breathed a sigh of relief because even though the stuff was old, no one could tell who it came from and I could lie and say it was new.

If a kid needs to keep a set of uniform at school to be washed by staff because there's no one to do it at home, then he can at a uniformed school, without being stigmatised for wearing the same clothes day in day out.

Frankly, I don't care about teens who have money 'expressing individuality' etc etc - they can do that at the weekend. Just give the poor kids a break.

wordfactory Fri 01-Feb-13 08:11:11

Well I certainly don't enisage having to buy another stitch of uniform until DD leaves school. I have piles of hand ons. DD is happy to wear them. However, I don't think she'd be happy wearing her friends' passed on non-uniform clothes. At least not in quantity. She sees those clothes as an expression of herself and is really fine tuning her tastes. She puts thought into it. And she is more than happy that none of her clothing budget is spent on school wear, uniform or not.

bruffin Fri 01-Feb-13 08:19:42

and they would have got new clothes when they grew out of the old ones anyway, plus if they had had uniform I would have had to buy new uniform -- teens grow in all directions.

My dd is in year 10 and i havent bought any new uniform since she started year 7. She is 5'5 so not tiny, but I think she has grown about 3 inches. The girls only wear skirts which are far more forgiving than trousers for growing upwards. Skirt also had adjustable waist so not a problem there either.

My ds had trousers replaced several time as he went from 5'2 to 6ft but always bought next size up in sales and never paid a huge amount for uniform. His 6th form suits are more expensive but then he has had to use them out of school anyway as he already has had interviews for various things as well as a job that required shirt and tie and smart trousers.

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Fri 01-Feb-13 08:34:15

Agree that it's much easier to buy uniform whenever you see it cheap - I bought school trousers years and years ahead in charity shops and in sales, safe in the knowledge that it would fit eventually. I now can't really buy non-uniform ahead for DD because I don't know what she'll like, or what will go with the rest of her wardrobe.

soverylucky Fri 01-Feb-13 09:00:42

In this country there is a dress code or uniform for many jobs. Until that changes then I think uniform should stay. School is partly about preparing students for life after school. I do think that at primary age many uniforms are uncomfortable and impractical.

I like uniforms when we take the pupils on an educational visit. We can easily identify where people are and that really does help.

Tau Fri 01-Feb-13 09:21:27

A lot of people say that uniforms are so easy. I don't agree. I have only one child, and it can be quite a pain to have his uniform clean and dry for school. He has two jumpers and two trousers for school and if they are both dirty I have to wash, even if I have nothing else to go with it. And on the dark wet days things just don't dry that well. If he could wear his normal clothes there'd be more available.

One thing that really annoys me is that his school insists the kids wear their jumpers because it 'looks smart' even in classes when it's hot. Ridiculous and unhealthy.

Funny that there is so much worry about and experience with poor kids standing out. That is a social problem though, and wearing a uniform only treats the symptoms, not the cause.
When I was little my clothes were either made by my mother or handed down to me and my cousin by two slightly older cousins. We were always thrilled when we got the big girls' dresses and no one ever teased us. I think most kids in my school wore second hand clothes anyway...

dikkertjedap Fri 01-Feb-13 09:24:27

I don't understand all the posters who say that it is easy because it is quick to get dressed in the morning.

My dc now do not have to wear uniform and they both love it. No problems getting dressed in the morning at all.

I also think that if uniforms are there to help poorer kids then there shouldn't be so many non-uniform days (for which you have to pay on top to add insult to injury).

I always found that you have to have all the uniform stuff, quite a bit unless you want to wash/iron every day or you don't mind it it is not clean, and on top of that lots of normal clothes for after school activities/weekends/parties/non-uniform days. So double the expenditure, especially if the school also prescribes what types of winter coats need to be worn. So for us, not having uniforms anymore, is definitely cheaper.

I think the real reason behind uniforms is that both the schools and certain producers make a lot of money out of them. Many schools still offer very little choice or even no choice in supplier (in spite of the OFT rulings).

MrsMarigold Fri 01-Feb-13 09:47:34

Where I went to school the uniform was very strict and standardised. There was no rolling up of skirts, shirts tucked-in, no make-up or fancy hairstyles. Hair had to be tied back off your face and the uniform had to be clean. It was good for us and a great leveller. Individulaity can be expressed in other ways - ie - excelling in the classroom, or cultural activities or on the sports field.

My au pair tells me bullying in the Netherlands is horrendous, most of it based on clothes.

MrsMarigold Fri 01-Feb-13 09:52:38

at my school we had a thrift shop where you could buy good second hand uniforms. Everyone got stuff from there periodically - also if you had an accident eg you dropped purple paint all over yourself in art you could just borrow something from the thrift shop which was a bonus.

DonderandBlitzen Fri 01-Feb-13 10:07:44

Tau Can't you buy your son an extra jumper and pair of trousers to make it easier re washing?

KC225 Fri 01-Feb-13 10:12:43

Donder: I agree, one on, one in the wash, one clean and hanging.

Our school sells second hand uniforms that kids have grown out of. If people move/leave school they are encouraged to donate the uniforms, a great way to build up some spares

I'm still waiting for somebody to say 'yes I am wearing a pair of trousers that cost £1.50 new'

Willowbast Fri 01-Feb-13 10:35:03

I'm all for uniforms, so much easier to get ready in the morning. I find the uniform cheap to buy, I have a number of items so I don't run out, And I don't need to buy too many out of school clothes really - and they aren't too strict about the shoes - she's wearing brown boots at the moment, even though they supposed to wear black shoes, but with this weather, it's just too cold and wet to wear the shoes! When I was 7 (age of my little girl), I had to wear a tie, they don't make them wear ties at that age now - is it a health and safety thing or something...? Anyway, at least she doesn't have to wear one and it's not necessary to get specific jumpers with the school logo on in most cases - I think I would have issue with that, as then they charge lots of money and I remember as a child, uniform cost an awful lot more than it does nowaways...as one can just go to supermarket, or clothing store and thankfully my girl has never been very brand aware, as I myself am not......I suppose that will happen soon enough though.....

CockBollocks Fri 01-Feb-13 11:00:26

northern I have £1.50 trousers on - my pants are on fire!

Boom boom! No? Ok, lets door bang arse on way out.

Oh, and op if Sweden us so bloody marvellous why don't u live there?

NorthernLurker

Adults' clothes will always be more expensive particularly than primary school children's because 1. they use twice as much material and 2. attract VAT.

On that basis, then, I rarely spend more than £6 for any garment, although I do get most of my clothes at the end of the sale or in charity shops.

BubaMarra Fri 01-Feb-13 11:15:25

What would be the purpose of non uniform days? Children probably go OTT on those days.

wisemanscamel Fri 01-Feb-13 11:33:34

Dunno, BubaMarra - I think it's usually a lack of imagination when the school wants to do some fundraising. I used to dread mufty days and would often be off sick.

TheFallenNinja Fri 01-Feb-13 11:38:45

Excellent point startail smile

ConferencePear Fri 01-Feb-13 11:41:55

I worked in a school which gave up on 'wear what you want' days because the kids started to interpret it as 'do what you want'.

pocketandsweet Fri 01-Feb-13 11:53:49

Ok I grew up in a country where uniforms are NOT the norm. I would have not liked a uniform ( esp after primary school age) BUT as a Mum I love them. They do make a difference in how much money you spend on your children's clothes and they do make it more difficult to mark children out as "different" based on income levels. We are contemplating a move out of the UK and I can tell you dressing my kids for school will be a lot more expensive and difficult when there is the pressure to have the "right" trainers and jeans etc. etc

BubaMarra Fri 01-Feb-13 12:09:26

I know it's not exactly like school uniforms, but I always taught my university uniform was a form of displaying elitism. Not only did we have to wear it for graduation ceremony (that's quite usual), but on many other 'normal' occasions like sitting exams etc. It was a way (one of many) to set their students apart from others.
So in a way uniforms not only level the playing field within the school, but they reinforce the divide between the schools at the same time.

olgaga Fri 01-Feb-13 13:02:50

During the week where there was heavy snow DDs school allowed non-uniform. Not sure why exactly...

By the third day (of four) even DD felt it was a pain in the arse, and was grateful to go back to her uniform!

Her cousin who lives in the US has no school uniform and envies DD for the fact that she has one because kids in her class are always criticising the "wrong" gear, colour choices etc - "Every day is like a damn fashion parade".

I just think it's better all round to have a simple uniform - in DD's case white polo shirt, navy sweatshirt, black trousers and shoes. No ironing, easy peasy.

Owzat Fri 01-Feb-13 13:41:55

I'm 31. Since starting school at 4, I've worn a uniform every working / school day apart from two periods. The first was throughout sixth form, the second was when I did a brief stint away from my (clinical, and therefore uniformed) job to work on a project. Wearing my own clothes to work seems alien, and I really didn't enjoy it at all.

For me, the best thing about having a uniform is the barrier it creates between work/school and life. I only wear my uniform when actually at work (because of the infection risk) but removing my uniform really helps me switch off mentally. I have well defined 'work' and 'not work' modes, and it starts and ends with my uniform.

My children aren't old enough for school yet but when they are I'm going to encourage them to change immediately after school (or after homework) to help them leave that part of the day behind them. smile

spookycatandfluffydog Fri 01-Feb-13 13:47:17

I disagree OP. It promotes a sense of belonging and pride in the school and does not single out rich or poor children. I hated non-uniform day at school when I was young. I didn't have the latest clothes and would be made fun of as a result

pmTea Fri 01-Feb-13 13:51:19

agree that there are pros and cons for both.

pros: - quick to get dressed in the mornings (though my DD has no uniform and is as fast as I was with one)
- poorer kids don't have to stress about their clothes (though nowadays cheap, nice clothes are far more readily available than when I was a kid)
- less competition with clothes

cons: - expensive to buy some uniforms and endless lists of requirements etc
- removes some sense of personality from children / how they also express themselves through their own individual style

A friend of mine went to the International School in London and they had a pretty cool clothing idea: everything had to be single block colour, either blue, grey (any shades of), black or white. No jeans were allowed and no bare midriffs or minis. No trainers. Other than that, the kids looked neat, smart and could also be more inventive with what they chose to wear, including being able to wear their own clothes and not having to spend additional money on uniforms that can only be worn at school. It worked for them.

LaVolcan Fri 01-Feb-13 13:59:45

I hated my school uniform and have made sure that I have done jobs which don't require uniform. Futhermore, in all the years since, I have never worn bottle green, although it would probably suit my colouring.

For me life became easier when the children were in sixth form and they could wear what they wanted - which was jeans and tops, so was still a uniform of sorts. I don't remember any fashion parade either.

Tau Fri 01-Feb-13 14:23:03

When my son was younger and muddier I did get him three uniforms, but that was a LOT of money in my opinion - much more than I'd usually spend on clothing. Plus he still needed non-uniform clothing for outside school, and having to purchase so many clothes it nearly tripled my clothing expenses! We dress cheap, because no one in our family has any fashion sense... wink
With only one child, I can't give the outgrown uniforms to the next one, so it remains wasteful.

Also, the problem remains that if the uniforms need washing and I don't have anything else dark to go with it, I have to run the washing machine only for the uniforms.

None of it is a big deal, mind you. I only mentioned it because so many people say that uniforms are more practical - and I don't agree. It's a nuisance to have to have a specific set of clothing ready instead of just pulling something random out of the wardrobe.

Tau Fri 01-Feb-13 14:28:47

I admit that I do not wear a pair of trousers that cost £1.50 new. But I am wearing a pair that cost me £2.00 second-hand. Why does it need to be new?

redbobblehat Fri 01-Feb-13 14:32:35

i quite like uniforms for ease, interms of no deciding what to wear that day

but i agree i think it would be cheaper to just have normal clothes, rather thans normal clothes and school uniforms

as in the holidays esp the summer, i'm like, shit we havent hardly got any clothes

LaVolcan Fri 01-Feb-13 14:41:40

It needs to be new because to be purchased new at that price they are almost certainly have been produced by sweated labour. £2.00 second hand? They could have been any price when new.

aliphil Fri 01-Feb-13 15:33:47

As a girl who wasn't interested in clothes, I loved having a school uniform. It meant I didn't have to worry about what I was going to wear or what anyone else would think of it. I boarded for secondary so we all saw each other in casuals every weekend, but non-uniform days were still hell for me because of the bullying and general bitchiness about clothes. I also found it easier to concentrate on work when wearing uniform, because it was one less thing to worry about - in the same way that now if I dress up I find I'm spending a lot more time thinking about what I'm wearing than if I'm in ordinary clothes.

newfashionedmum Fri 01-Feb-13 16:23:49

I'm against uniforms, as i suspect they actually 'fetishise' clothing - ie make it more important than it should be. Hence the mufti day problem - having a uniform sends the message that it is important what you wear and important your clothing 'fits in' - I imagine this increases 'labels culture'.

My DD's at a primary school where there is no uniform, what she wears is not that big a deal - yes she likes to look 'nice' (whatever her interpretation of that is) sometimes, though weeks go by when she wears the same outfit (jeans and Tshirt) virtually every day. Many of her clothes come from charity shops and she's never been teased. Kids might admire each others clothes occasionally but there's no 'status' attached to wearing great clothes or designer gear/trainers etc.

When she was younger we sometimes used to have difficulties when she wanted to wear something inappropriate - too strappy or flouncy - but we just dealt with it in the same way we say no to too much telly or sweets. I consider it part of her learning to be responsible for herself and part of our job to teach her what's appropriate.

I really can't see any advantage for children in wearing a uniform and i think its actually a bit creepy - especially as teachers don't wear it. It makes things very us and them and is a bit of an armed forces throwback. Interestingly the local secondary school say they can tell the children from our school as they are very confident interacting with adults and talk to them like real people - tho not everyone thinks that's a good thing, i certainly do.

LaVolcan Fri 01-Feb-13 16:26:53

Do you think it depends on what the uniform is, so to those of you who like uniforms, would any uniform be OK?

I wasn't too upset with my daughter's school when they had a simple uniform of navy skirt/trousers, white blouse, and navy jumper, but after she left they introduced cheap polyester black blazers, ties for the girls as well as the boys, I definitely wouldn't have wanted her to wear those.

On the whole I think pride in the organisation engenders the pride in the uniform and not the other way around.

LineRunner Fri 01-Feb-13 17:21:13

I think you're right, LaVolcan, in many ways. I didn't mind the basic dress code but my DC's school's move towards an ever-increasing complexity of supposed mono-culture is just irritatingly contradictory.

wisemanscamel Fri 01-Feb-13 18:06:21

LaVolcan I am pro uniform - something like navy trousers/skirt, polo shirt,school sweatshirt or possibly blazer, jumper, white shirt. I don't like girls in ties - I don't see the point of that since they won't have to wear them in real life.

I do think it is a lot to do with how you view school and children generally though as a parent. I think kids go to school to learn stuff, from 9-3pm. They are part of a large organisation and the expression of their individuality is unimportant during that time. In the evenings and weekends, mine dress however they like and can express themselves as much as they like! I know that not everyone agrees with this though. smile

I they have to impose this stuff on our children, I wish they would allow them to look like children and not mini office workers.

I hate uniform however I can understand that many people on here have said that they like it for ease, so a polo, jumper and choice of skirt or trousers should really be enough. I cant agree with the whole it makes them work/behave better, there is no evidence to support that afaik (no doubt someone will prove me wrong now grin)

Dds school imposed this ridioculously strict uniform when she was in yr8,she looked like a clone from star wars, obviously they didnt give her a mask, she once got a detention for not having her top button done up in summer and another time wearing a scarf on top in winter, I couldnt get my head around that at all.

LineRunner Fri 01-Feb-13 18:26:23

My DC's school has now surpassed itself - for parents who cannot afford to buy a strict school uniform coat, they will be permitted to wear an alternative to school but will be required to take it off before they enter the school even in bad weather.

So the poor kids (in both senses) will be the ones sitting there drenched, then. Dickens, anyone?

Bonsoir Fri 01-Feb-13 18:43:58

"They are part of a large organisation and the expression of their individuality is unimportant during that time."

shock shock shock

Education is about learning to express your own views about the world. Not about cloning people.

LaVolcan Fri 01-Feb-13 18:51:14

wisemanscamel - yes, I think children go to school to learn, so I'd like to see teachers concentrating on that and not nagging about top buttons not being done up or wearing scarves. I am all for them laying down rules as to what is appropriate or not like no strappy tops, bare midriffs, trousers hanging down your backside, or no jewellery in tech labs (on H & S grounds). I don't like the mini office worker look either - you will have 40 years plus at work, why not let children be children?

At my work (govt research establishment) a memo was issued once telling people not to walk around in bare feet, but jeans/t shirts were quite accepted.

Haberdashery Fri 01-Feb-13 18:51:53

>> I'm against uniforms, as i suspect they actually 'fetishise' clothing - ie make it more important than it should be. Hence the mufti day problem - having a uniform sends the message that it is important what you wear and important your clothing 'fits in' - I imagine this increases 'labels culture'.

Hear hear, newfashionedmum. Totally agree.

LineRunner, that is appalling.

Ties on secondary girls are ridiculous. Tie over budding breasts is nuts.

whoknowswho Fri 01-Feb-13 19:39:24

Simple uniform is a winner for me. All in the same colour with sweaters with the school badge on. It gives a child a sense of belonging and saves arguments on a morning!

WorriedTeenMum Fri 01-Feb-13 19:55:38

What a scary sense of self-importance the uniform dictator has in your DCs' school LineRunner. As my DH has just said, outside of school you can where WTF you like. The idea then that you have to strip of your outer coat so that the HT can get a warm sense of uniformity as he/she peers out of the window through the rain is nothing short of disgraceful.

camaleon Fri 01-Feb-13 20:20:04

As a mum I appreciate how useful uniforms are. They are convenient to me, but I have already said they are linked culturally to me to repressive regimes and I think people do not realise is a very British thing.

But also, how can the same person justify uniforms because they prepare children to real life (uniform at work)? and because they hide differences in wealth (?) Real life very much involves people with different income. To believe that clothes worn at school during 5 hours hide this is astonishing but the argument of the 'real life' does not stand here.

camaleon Fri 01-Feb-13 20:21:42

LineRunner, is this a state school? It can certainly not be legal and I am sure you could challenge this in a court of law (if you can be bothered)

Snog Fri 01-Feb-13 20:25:45

No point at all imo
And no evidence that they achieve anything positive either
Other countries do not fall apart without school uniform fgs
YANBU

countrykitten Fri 01-Feb-13 20:30:07

As a teacher I am all for uniform and so are the pupils I teach. They are very proud to be associated with the school and all that it stands for as are the staff many of whom have coats, kits with the school crest on (worn at school not out of it!). Mufti days are good fun and make a change but for every day to be like that? No thanks.

countrykitten Fri 01-Feb-13 20:31:07

BTW our 6th form do not have a uniform as such but have very strict guidelines as to what they can wear - office smart I think is the phrase used.

WorriedTeenMum Fri 01-Feb-13 20:33:10

I do like the idea that each morning the school attending population of the rest of Europe opens the wardrobe and wails 'what on earth am I going to wear?'

Also, why are students expected to learn languages, sciences etc in a couple of years yet apparently take 11 or more years of daily effort to learn how to wear a uniform for work?

My DH wears a uniform for work (after twenty years of choosing for himself) and found that the usual rules of buttons and zips applied, no special catch up lessons required. Even on his first day he managed not to fall into the trap of wearing his uniform trousers on his head.

WorriedTeenMum Fri 01-Feb-13 20:39:24

countykitten, your students are proud to be associated with your school so uniform is fine. My DCs enjoy no such pride as the school they attend is currently competing for 'the crappest school in Britain' award.

Students are only proud to be associated with schools worthy of that pride. For the rest I think that non-uniform would be fairer all round thus avoiding guilt by association.

Perhaps you could send me the school crest for your school and my DCs could pretend they go somewhere else.

LineRunner Fri 01-Feb-13 20:53:08

Re: the coats.

Yes it's a state school. I can only guess that the governing body has a couple of new members who think the Head Teacher is right in their crazed pursuit of what they imagine a public school to be like.

I am leading the flag waving rebellion. <do you hear the people sing>

Haberdashery Fri 01-Feb-13 20:56:41

Students are surely only proud to be associated with schools that are worth being proud of? The uniform or lack of it has precisely nothing to do with whether or not they feel proud of their school. I was very proud of my school (which didn't have a uniform and hadn't had one since before I was born).

Haha, WorriedTeenMum! Like the idea of your DH unaccountably deciding to wear his trousers on his head.

mrsbunnylove Fri 01-Feb-13 21:07:04

neat uniform looks smart, promotes a positive attitude to work and boosts morale. the children i teach (inner city, 11-16) look very tidy and businesslike in uniform.
when the uniform is correct, you see the person, not the clothes.

CruCru Fri 01-Feb-13 21:10:02

I'm not keen on them. However, I am in the minority it seems.

countrykitten Fri 01-Feb-13 21:13:07

Was just making the point - another angle if you like?

Mrsbunny, why do they need to look businesslike? They are children, they should look like children.

Haberdashery Fri 01-Feb-13 21:23:04

Making the point that you teach at a school that your students are proud to attend? How is uniform related to this? If it's a good school, surely they'd be proud of it regardless of the uniform or lack of it?

TooMuchRain Fri 01-Feb-13 21:31:13

YABU school uniforms are a great equaliser and make mornings so much easier

camaleon Fri 01-Feb-13 21:42:10

Linerunner, I am totally shocked by this. I would certainly do something. I am sure the only legal 'basis' a state school has to make you wear a uniform is the document they make you sign at the start of the term 'accepting' their terms. The right to education cannot be dependent on how you dress, but to add the coat on top of it is unbelievable.

Loved your post worriedteenmum

And all those teachers who love uniforms, could they explain to us why they don't use one themselves?

I hated uniforms. You always knew who the rich kids were anyway. They wore nicer shoes, had nicer bags, they had more uniforms so theirs always looked better and less worn. If they had a growth spurt they never had to wear slightly too small shirts because it was only a few weeks until the end of term. The uniforms were uncomfortable polyester crap. I hated having to look exactly like everyone else. I hated that the boys had to ask a teacher before they could take their blazers off, even when it was baking hot.

Uniforms cost a lot so I had two skirts. Great if I spilled something and my other one wasn't clean. I got glue on a skirt once and then I had one skirt. I had really hard to fit feet as a kid, usually we could only find one pair of shoes in the whole city that would fit me and would meet uniform policy. They were ugly and uncomfortable.

Really really thankful that DCs don't have uniforms. DS#2 has a reasonable dress code though. They have to wear collared shirts that can't be sports shirts and trousers or shorts that aren't sports ones either. DS finds a lot of clothes uncomfortable to wear and it has been a challenge finding collared shirts that he is comfortable wearing. Luckily he finds secondhand ones are often softer and don't break his skin out. DS#1 can wear almost anything that is intact, decent and without inappropriate prints on them (sexual, gang symbols, racist, alcohol etc)

What does one do if the kid is allergic to the school uniform?? DS can't wear certain fibres.

I think school uniform is fine for opt-in schools, but should not be compulsory for local state schools.

butterfingerz Fri 01-Feb-13 21:48:34

I thought, as far as primary is concerned, school uniform can't be legally enforced.

I went to primary on a rough council estate, we had a uniform but some kids would wear a multicoloured non-uniform sweater or I think I had bright red trainers at one point... black shoes were definitely not strictly adhered to!

'make mornings so much easier '

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

Parents