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Is there ANY proven correlation between school uniform and performance?

(573 Posts)
Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 09:11:46

Any data (either way) anywhere?

Fairylea Thu 02-May-13 09:14:40

Regardless of that though isn't school uniform also to do with poorer parents being able to buy cheap school wear rather than feeling the need to compete if dc were allowed to wear their own stuff? I'm half asleep and not wording it very eloquently but I do think that's part of the reason we keep it.

ryanboy Thu 02-May-13 09:14:52

The purpose of school uniform is not to improve academic performnce

quoteunquote Thu 02-May-13 09:18:40

no it about controlling what children wear.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 09:19:03

I know that ryanboy.

I didn't ask if it was.

I want to know if there is any proven data about it either way.

indyandlara Thu 02-May-13 09:20:53

Or stopping the constant pressure to have the latest gear for school, which hen gets trashed causing upset and more expense. Can't see why people get their knickers in such a twist about uniform.

LaundryLegoLunch Thu 02-May-13 09:21:15

I'd be interested in this. My dc's school has no uniform and although I like the individuality it promotes, it's quite expensive as casual trousers and shoes never last as long as school versions. The school has a new head starting in Sep and I'm sure that this will be a hot topic for them...

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:21:57

Everyone knows who the poor kids are regardless. It's obvious. I loathe uniform.

In answer to the OP no I don't know Hully. Interested to find out though.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 09:22:29

I don't care what anyone thinks about uniform, just want to know about data.

Haberdashery Thu 02-May-13 09:23:25

The research quoted by the Sutton Trust (that uniform is among the least effective ways of improving a school) seems to have been carried out at Durham University. Not sure who by or where you could see the original research, though.

Haberdashery Thu 02-May-13 09:23:43
Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 09:24:07

Thank you, Haberdashery. I'll have a look.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:25:03

we have a drawer full of normal clothes that are wasted as ds wears the horrible aertex that never stays white more than a week, the nasty polyester jumper with logo that is compulsory and costs 9 quid a go, and the trousers that are (finally) cotton which took me ages to find, and now have holes in the knees. The polyester trousers dig into his stomach and leave a deep mark..uniform is hideous and my children look FAR nicer on a weekend in their ordinary clothes. No one can tell our class status when they wear their own clothes.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 09:25:33

So Sutton Trust says "no robust evidence"

SanityClause Thu 02-May-13 09:25:40

I have no problem with school uniform, as I think its just easier to have. Children (particularly teenagers) don't need to worry whether their clothes will be socially acceptable, and parents don't have to fork out for expensive Hollister hoodies for every day of the week. (And what are Hollister hoodies if not a uniform - if we didn't have one for them, they'd invent it themselves!)

However, I don't really understand hairstyle rules. At DD1's school, they can dye their hair any colour, so long as it's a natural hair colour. DD1 asked whether I thought a black girl at the school would be allowed to bleach her hair blonde. My thought is that if a white girl with blonde hair can dye her hair black, then the school would be on fairly shaky ground saying the black girl couldn't bleach hers.

So, in that case, why not let them have blue hair? Or green, or pink? The blonde girl who has dyed her hair black is going to have obviously dyed hair. So why not let them dye it blue, which is also obviously dyed?

RevoltingPeasant Thu 02-May-13 09:26:03

Hully I don't have any data but grew up in the US where uniforms are rare. Several people in my year still managed to go to Harvard and comparable places.

I seriously doubt there is any link.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:26:04

Oh sorry. will bugger off then.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 09:27:48

Why Rooney?

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:28:24

giving opinions!

LeaveTheBastid Thu 02-May-13 09:29:15

Is there a reason you ask hullygully?

I don't think there can be any solid evidence that it improves anything, way too many other factors that would affect the results for anybody to be albe to say that uniform alone is responsible for increased classroom performance.

thebody Thu 02-May-13 09:31:17

Hate hate hate school uniform.

Complete waste of bloody money and as a TA in reception I can spend far too much time trying to find cardigans and pe kits that all look the bloody same.

As a parent I hate it as I have always encouraged my 4 to be individuals and really enjoy the phases of 'goth' lasted 3 weeks oldest ds etc.

It doesn't improve standards and its expensive.

lisson Thu 02-May-13 09:31:50

you may want to google "David Brunsma school uniform" as its the only research done, and it says it has no impact on performance. However, the author was prejudiced before he undertook the research and it was in the US, so that may undermine the study's conclusions and their extrapolation to our culture.

Personally, I think its a good idea. For the poor kids (and their parents), for the promotion of belonging and school pride and for the general idea that you are there to work, rather like the same reason men wear a suit and tie to the office but not during leisure time.

schoolgovernor Thu 02-May-13 09:32:42

There is a correlation between introducing school uniform and improving behaviour, and then you can expect that improved behaviour will result in increased attainment and accelerated progress (and accelerated progress is what it's all about these days).
I have been a governor on an Interim Executive Board in a school where behaviour had been completely out of control. One of the measures introduced by the new leadership was to introduce school uniform, and surprisingly maybe, the students gave positive feedback about how it made them feel. You would need to see the development plan for a particular school, which would include the outcomes they expected to see from introducing uniform, and the longer term evaluation. Certainly in the school I am thinking of we were satisfied that introducing uniform was one of the positive changes that turned things around for those boys and girls.
This might wind a few people up, but I think that some parents (not saying this is you Op!) need to just stop worrying about petty things like uniform and support the schools that their children attend. If there is a uniform - get behind the school and have your children wear it. You've got a chance to buy an economical set of clothing for your kids to wear at school and no messing. I get intensely aggravated by parents who are constantly supporting their children in ways to dodge around wearing the approve uniform to school. Who exactly needs to grow up in that scenario?
The argument is sometimes about expense of a particular item, or sourcing, but most schools will be willing to enter into a sensible discussion about that and consider alternatives suggested.
Just put the children in the uniform, get them to school, and then turn your attention to the more important issue of how they are actually getting on when they go in the gates every day. wink

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 09:33:21

for the promotion of belonging and school pride and for the general idea that you are there to work, rather like the same reason men wear a suit and tie to the office but not during leisure time.

Does it work for that? Is there evidence?

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:33:31

Those are the reasons I hate it Lisson.

LeaveTheBastid Thu 02-May-13 09:34:07

I know personally I always worked better on days when we couldn't wear our own clothes. Own clothes meant slack day, messing about, not there to work just there to compare clothes and chat at the back of the class. Wearing a uniform made it feel like I was there for a purpose, I suppose in a way a work uniform does.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 09:34:44

You are making assumptions about my reasons for the question there, school governor. And they are quite wrong.

Tee2072 Thu 02-May-13 09:35:44

School uniform cheap for poor people, really?

Freakin' jumper for £15, polo with logo for £11??

That's cheap? Not where I shop for his play clothes, it isn't!

ryanboy Thu 02-May-13 09:37:14

I think it would be quite hard to provide robust data either way.A new more stringent uniform policy is often part of much wider changes in a school (eg new HT, new discipline policy) so hard to isolate the effects of the uniform on its own.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:37:48

exactly Tee

home clothes can be bought very very cheaply, to fit and to be comfy and to allow for play. School uniforms are like little office clothes - completely inappropriate for primary age children.

Secondary maybe. Not primary.

Haberdashery Thu 02-May-13 09:38:41

>> I know personally I always worked better on days when we couldn't wear our own clothes. Own clothes meant slack day, messing about, not there to work just there to compare clothes and chat at the back of the class.

Ah, but you're approaching that from school uniform being the norm. In schools without uniform, you don't have that 'day off' feeling because you are used to wearing your own clothes.

ArtexMonkey Thu 02-May-13 09:41:03

I'm glad you started this thread hully.

My dcs' school has a uniform, but it's not compulsory and they're consulting on whether to make it compulsory. I'm opposed for many of the reasons Rooney has already said.

I'm glad to have some data to back myself up.

thebody Thu 02-May-13 09:41:10

And as they all look the same then these expensive jumpers etc are easily lost/nicked.

On 4th child now and I have refused to re buy the gym kit.

If the school want her in it they can fork out the cash themselves.

Freakin ridiculous in a recession.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 09:41:56

At my dc's school the sixth form has not had a uniform, now they plan to make them wear "business suits" (the years below have a uniform).

I find their given reasons questionable and hence am interested in all evidence and data around the issue.

schoolgovernor Thu 02-May-13 09:43:45

p.s. Even now, in my advanced years, I am aware that what I am wearing can have an effect on my attitude. I'm sure if people are honest they will admit to feeling the same. I put on my slouchy track bottoms, it affects how I behave. I dress up in a smart suit, somehow I stand straighter and I come over all business-like.
I'm not too old to remember how my behaviour adjusted when I emerged from my room as a punk and set off down the street. It was almost as if I needed to live the part as well as just look it. That is why I am in despair when I hear of parents thinking it's OK to send children to school in their Goth gear etc. If we're honest we all know bloody well that has an effect on how they are going to behave. Which is fine in leisure time, but not in school.
And last bit of rant... another reason for teaching them to wear uniform when they are in school is because school is a place of work. Get them into the mindset where they realise that certain "individuality" isn't appropriate in the workplace and hopefully they will take that concept with them when they try to get into the world of work. You teach them that expressing their "individuality" by their appearance is somehow so important that other considerations can be ignored, and they are the people moaning and wringing their hands because they can't get jobs. They are people that think they are making some sort of point by turning up at interviews with an unprofessional appearance. Reality check - life's a bitch and sometimes you need to toe the line in order to get somewhere.
I know I'm showing my vintage, but this just wasn't an issue when I was at school. I think because we wouldn't have been able to afford the latest trends to wear to school in any case, but also because the majority of parents and pupils had more respect for schools.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:44:16

When you have got a code then if something is damaged or dirty and expensive to replace, they just have to wear it anyway. So people KNOW who is well to do and whose home life is chaotic.

If they could wear anything, there would always be spare clothes. Clothes are very cheap in places like Asda etc. I think uniform is a very very outdated concept for primary kids and if we had a school with no uniform round here that's where my children would be.

I HE one of them as it is.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 09:46:42

I am old too, schoolgov. I went to 6th form college as a punk as did my peer group, somehow we all managed to get good a levels, go to good universities and function in the world.

And there are an awful lot of careers and professions these days where individuality and creativity are a must. We are not all bank clerks these days. That idea is terribly outmoded.

schoolgovernor Thu 02-May-13 09:47:31

If the uniform is too expensive or inaccessible maybe consider getting involved in school to bring about change. As governors we made sure that the new uniform was reasonably priced and based on items that were easy to find. Then badges were provided separately to be sewn on.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 09:47:35

A 'business suit' effectively just means a shirt and jacket for the lads though, doesn't it? A lot of workplaces require smart clothing...

ouryve Thu 02-May-13 09:47:53

No, but I like my kids' uniform. It's cheap and robust (it took both of my boys to finally wear holes in the £6 school sweatshirts and they're both really hard on their clothes) and takes one source of stress out of school mornings.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:48:06

'I put on my slouchy track bottoms, it affects how I behave. I dress up in a smart suit, somehow I stand straighter and I come over all business-like.'

I don't share these sensations. If I put on 'smart' business clothes, I feel hideous - uncomfortable, uncoordinated and conspicuous.

If I wear normal, comfortable clothes (say jeans, a jumper, a nice t shirt for example) I feel graceful, coordinated, confortable and at ease with people and with my own body. I feel far more confident and in control.

Tracksuits not so much, but normal, everyday clothes certainly make me feel better than something made of manmade fibre and which restricts my movement. Like most school uniforms are/do.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:50:58

I've already got involved. I led a campaign against the new rules that were brought in arbitrarily a couple of years ago. The school consulted on the plans and then blatantly ignored the majority views. They admitted this as there was an outcry.

Our governors upheld only part of the complaint, which was about the promise to phase in the new uniform which had been reneged on. The message was basically get stuffed.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 09:50:58

Yes, and when they are in "the work place" they will wear whatever clothes are necessary as everyone always has, be it overalls, a suit, a spangled leotard..

How do all those at university manage to get their degrees without wearing suits?

It's just nonsense.

schoolgovernor Thu 02-May-13 09:51:21

I know my ideas are outmoded to some, but I have seen the impact in schools and I am in at the sharp end now. Of course some jobs require expression of individuality, but let's face it, we all know that they are the minority.
In spite of Gove's eccentric ideas there are still a worrying number of schools that are letting down our children in terms of teaching. As a parent that's where I concentrate my energies, not the trivia that is uniform.
(I agree that primary school children don't need to wear little suits, but I think it's reasonable in the schools that set a simple uniform policy based on what is available in Asda).

LtGreggs Thu 02-May-13 09:52:41

What kind of school uniform have you got that restricts movement??

Trousers (or skirt & tights), polo shirt, jumper?

That's basically what my DC would be wearing if there was no uniform, but they'd just have it in random colours??

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 09:53:13

Oh yes, Rooney, here too.

The best bit was they said there was a "consultation" but put information about the change on the website before the "consultation" had even happened.

The bit that annoys me the most is that it is ILLOGICAL. They have no reasons or evidence, just "feelings" that it will make a difference. Or that it should. A vague Govian golden-age nostalgia for something that never existed.

ouryve Thu 02-May-13 09:54:10

Our kids' school uniform is pretty generic, btw - grey or black trousers (or skirt), light blue polo shirt and royal blue jumper or sweatshirt. There's also fleeces, hats etc available. The logoed polo shirts are expensive compared to shop bought ones, so few parents bother (and I'm glad they're not compulsory as DS1 trashes his in about 5 wears, sometimes sooner). Almost all kids wear the logoed sweatshirts, though and the fleeces are popular - DS1 has one instead of a sweatshirt for chilly days.

I think that's a sensible uniform for small kids. I do agree that the more expensive school uniforms are ludicrous, though, especially for primary school kids., who go through knees, elbows and cuffs and have a tendency to paint themselves.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 09:54:35

I went through sixth form in the early eighties. No-one dressed like a punk, new romantic or whatever was in fashion at the time. Everyone dressed soberly and smartly. I think you should support your school.

Still18atheart Thu 02-May-13 09:54:36

I remember a teacher at school, saying that on own clothes day that the behaviour of the pupils was distinctly worse, than when it was a normal school uniform day.

I also went to a primary school where uniform wasn't compulsory at all. And I have to say it wasn't the best school for grades.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Thu 02-May-13 09:55:36
RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:56:05

Lol Hully, I like that. very blatant.

We have decided but still want to pretend to care what you think, because we have to.

Lt Eve - it's the trousers. The nasty, uncomfortable, frayed hem polyester trousers that make climbing and swinging and even sitting at a desk fairly uncomfortable.
And the ridiculous shoes that have to be 'smart' and not 'trainers' so Geox are banned, even smart, normal Geox that aren't trainers, and Clarks office shoes that go through at the toe within a week are perfecty acceptable.

haggisaggis Thu 02-May-13 09:57:32

From a work point of view ...when I started working (26 years ago - scary or what!) everyone wore suits or at least smart trousers / skirts. Now we wear what we want - so some staff members wear jeans through the week. Others will still wear a shirt & tie. We have seen no drop in productivity - in fact i would say that we probably work harder than we did 26 years ago. If we are meeting a new client then we may put on "smarter" clothes due to expectations - but it does nothing to increase productivity.

littlewhitebag Thu 02-May-13 09:59:36

My DD2 went to do sixth form at a private school. The year she started they introduced the wearing of suits for sixth form. She didn't really like it, mostly because she didn't enjoy wearing a jacket in class plus the rules were quite strict about what they could and couldn't wear. I don't think wearing it made her achieve any better but she did look very smart! DD1 has another year in uniform before she has to wear the suit! We have learned from DD1. Just get cheap suits from H&M!

RevoltingPeasant Thu 02-May-13 10:00:01

Hully I agree 100%.

In my (American) high school, the emphasis was very much on training us to be citizens.

This had some undesirable aspects, like making us say the pledge of allegiance to the flag every morning.

But it also had some excellent aspects. For example, teachers never 'marked our books'. Our notebooks were where we took our own notes and if they weren't up to scratch, we wouldn't be able to do our homework and would eventually fail. Our problem.

We had a robust school government system, with elected 'presidents' and 'senators' who worked with the staff to formulate school rules. Our school had a nationally award winning newspaper produced to proper broadsheet production values. We also had a mini courtroom for law classes, and sometimes, students who had committed 'crimes' such as graffitti-ing in school were 'tried' by their peers there.

I remember the outrage when the school introduced bells between lessons. Previously, the idea had been that you need to wear a watch and get yourself to your next class on time. We actually staged sit-ins to protest against this infantilisation - fond memories grin

I am a university lecturer now, and my students are great - but many of them are really lacking in independence and initiative when they come. I really think schools here infantilise and homogenise children and don't teach them to work independently. Uniforms are just part of that.

Katiepoes Thu 02-May-13 10:00:47

So how does it work in countries where uniforms barely exist? I have never seen a child in a uniform in Holland, nor in Germany when I lived there. Yet somehow the kids scrape by despite their scruffiness. Some even manage to get to university believe it or not.

I had a uniform (Irish) - school pride my eye. We spent more time coming up with ways to personalise the horrible thing and HATED that it identified us as from the school. It didn't save my parents money either, my school had notions about itself and there was a kilt, an official crested jumper, tie, scarf and particularly vile gabardine coat all only available from tow shops. Then there was the gym gear...the bag....the blazer...load of nonsense really.

fruitpastille Thu 02-May-13 10:01:59

Personally i think the notion of dressing 'professionally' is rather outdated. Many people don't wear a suit and tie for work. As long as you don't wear anything inappropriate i don't see the issue. My DH wears shorts and a linen shirt to work all year round. It doesn't affect his ability to do his job.

Similarly students at university seem perfectly capable of achieving exam success while looking a bit scruffy.

Many countries around the world don't have school uniforms and it doesn't turn the children into delinquents.

Business wear for 6th form sounds hideous, they will look like candidates for the apprentice!

Maryz Thu 02-May-13 10:02:16

Yes, there is of course shock

It has been proven that wearing a tie improves IQ by 7.4 points, due to the extra activity of the brain in tying said tie every morning.

It has been proven that girls having 6.3 inches of bare leg between the bottom of their skirts and the top of their socks in the winter improves girls' concentration, as it keeps the blood supply to their brains at the correct lower temperature.

And finally, it has been proven that boys' performance improves if the girls wear head to toe old-fashioned uniform instead of the more modern equivalent


my old sixth form didnt have a uniform, it did have a 'dress code'

No slogan t shirts
no jeans
shorts had to be tailored.
no skirts above the knee
no flip flops or high heels.

it was enough of a guideline to keep most of us smart-ish without imposing uniform on us.

As for younger children, i dont agree with uniform for pre-school, and i rarely buy the school logo'd stuff, i buy the cheap generic versions from the supermarket. My kids have 1 logo'd jumper and 1 logo'd tshirt and 1 school fleece each for photo's and school trips.

5madthings Thu 02-May-13 10:03:46

Sorry what kind of behaviour does goth clothing encourage?!! The goths local to me are without a doubt the ones that will offer to help me on and off the bus with a pushchair and are sweet and polite to my children and me. They seem to hang around in groups and have made lovely comments to my ds3 who likes to wear a tutu ovet his jeans smile

We got a new ht a few yrs ago and he brought in a new uniform, the second one in four years!! Logod jumpers available from one supplier, white polos instead of the navy blue they had before. Its cost a firtune buying new uniform for three children and a massive waste of the old uniform that i coukd have handed down. The blue polo shirts were great, washed brilliantly, didnt stain etc and now we have crappy white ones that i am forever replacing as they dont stat white!

We did get involved, a friend became a govenor and we all wrote and asked qyestions, made suggestions etc that were pretty much universally ignored! The only consesion given was a slightly longer grace period to replace the old uniform. Its crap. I like other things the head has done and i can see he wanted to put his stamp on the school with the new uniform but he has pissed a lot of parents off and made his start at the school unpopular.

I have sucked it up and bought the uniform tho i refuse to get the logo swratshirts as thry are expensive and the colour runs! I get the supermarket equivalent which is cheaper and washes better but ht chose a colour not available in tesco or asda and only occasionally stocked bu sainaburys.

Debenhams, m&s and john lewis dont stock the colour either infact sainsburys is the only shop that does othet than the school unifotm centre. Thats a bloody disgrace, so much for being easily available and a good price and quality.

I have no qualms supporting the school as my boys are happy and thriving but i bloody hate the monopoly on uniform by the schoolwear centre that 90%+ of schools buy into, its a disgrace.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 10:04:06


I do support the school. I am on every committee, I know all the teachers etc etc My dc are straight A/A* students who behave very well.

What I can't support is ILLOGICALITY in any form. This is why I am struggling, I want to support the school, but they are not acting like rational adults.

Supporting authority just because it IS authority leads to some very dangerous places.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 10:04:44

good points, Revolting

5madthings Thu 02-May-13 10:09:58

rooney my boys wear geox, the only shoes that will fit their feet or ricosta and the school tried to say not allowed, they are smart but not always plain black. I told the ht if he had a problem he could speak to me (after ds3 got told off) and explained they are the only shoes that fit! Hell i would quite like to buy cheaper shoes rather than £40-50 a pair but they need well fitting shoes and clarks, startrite etx dont sell any that fit. I did say he could try and find some if he wanted...

Startail Thu 02-May-13 10:10:07

According to DD uniform wastes 5 minutes a lesson, 25 minutes a day as the teachers have to check it each lesson as they go in.

I suspect there is very little research as it's in no ones interest to fund it.

Uniform companies like the status quo, schools like uniform, the government perceive parents like uniform.

Only DCs and a few parents who dare think for themselves hate uniform.

But more than anything uniform is seen as the British way of doing things. We are a conservative nation. Only those dangerously liberal Europeans don't have uniforms, despite the fact that much of Europe has better results.

Gingersstuff Thu 02-May-13 10:10:54

My DD's grammar school recently had a student vote as to whether to keep uniform or ditch it. I thought it was a great idea letting them decide for themselves. Maybe surprisingly to some, the vast majority voted to keep's a great school, the pupils are proud to be a part of it and I think it saves a great deal of angst about not wearing the "right" labels for teens. Having said that there is a wee bit of leeway with what consitutes uniform, enough for each pupil to express a bit of individuality (which my DD takes full advantage of grin)

loofet Thu 02-May-13 10:13:30

Nope, no correlation whatsoever. However I can see good reasons to keep it- American's don't have school uniform and there's god awful cliques which I would HATE to see over here. I know when I was at school there was an element of it- the 'moshers' for example but nowhere near as bad as the US. Everyone is forced into a group, forced to have a label. Bullying is A LOT worse.

Also it gets them ready for the working world where most places do have some sort of uniform, most work places you can't just rock up in jeans and trainers wink Plus would you be comfortable with, for example, girls rocking up in no tights, tiny shorts and a boob tube to school? -shudder-

I think if everyone has to wear the same its one less (large!) reason to bully someone. Agreed you can still tell who the 'poor' kids are by their appearence, shoes, coat, bag etc but at least they don't have to turn up even more embarrassed with the one tracksuit they own every day or whatever.

I know none uniform days were dreadful at my secondary school. Everyone was so judgey, it was a big competition and there was always the poor souls who always turned up in a neon orange cheap tracksuit that everyone would mock. I bet it was a relief for those kids to be back in uniform tbh.

BumPotato Thu 02-May-13 10:14:53

My DDs' school is strict about uniform. It is also one of the top performing schools, exam results wise, in the country.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 10:15:35

How do people manage at university then?

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 10:16:14

Bet it's a super selective huh, bumpotato?

LemonsLimes Thu 02-May-13 10:16:31

Sorry if already mentioned, but this school doesn't have a uniform but is one of the top schools in the country. Likewise, no uniforms in Germany, France etc and i'm sure it doesn't affect results.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 10:17:48

yy lemons, I used that school in my polite letter of enquiry. Strangely, it was ignored.

Haberdashery Thu 02-May-13 10:19:05

>> Plus would you be comfortable with, for example, girls rocking up in no tights, tiny shorts and a boob tube to school?

But why would they do that? I went to a secondary without uniform and people just wore jeans and T shirts because by the time they'd got to the sort of age where boob tubes and shorts might have been desirable, everyone had realised that comfort and practicality were also important.

Not to mention the fact that I see plenty of girls in supposed uniform with tiny miniskirts and socks on which is no better than shorts and a boob tube, IMO.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 02-May-13 10:20:15

I really cannot understand the angst around school uniform.

It is cheap, washes well and you don't have the 'I want to wear XYZ' discussion every morning. Per item it might be slightly more expensive than the cheapest things that you can get from supermarkets, but the uniform I bought for DS1 back in September is still looking smart and clean, unlike the cheap end of the rest of his clothes.

There are far more important things to engage with the school over than what the kids are wearing, surely? And far more interesting ways to express your opinions and individuality during the 6/7 hours a day that children are at school.

Haberdashery Thu 02-May-13 10:20:43

>> My DDs' school is strict about uniform. It is also one of the top performing schools, exam results wise, in the country.

The school I went to had no uniform and has been in the top five or ten schools in the country ever since they started publishing league tables.

There's really no correlation between results and uniforms.

Maat Thu 02-May-13 10:21:02

DS2 is in his final year at college. He is very arty / crafty and taking film studies at university. I can't imagine he will wear a proper business suit ever in his life.

Not only that - he is 5'5" and would look like a little boy at a wedding in a suit. I'm not sure making him feel self conscious would enhance his college experience somehow!

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 10:23:37

Can't you alibabaa?

Oh well.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 02-May-13 10:25:37

Hully I'm not sure why you are being rude hmm

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 10:26:17

That's not rude!

But your inability to understand that topic at hand is hardly germane.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 10:27:57

I do however apologise if you felt it rude. It wasn't intentional.

Bonsoir Thu 02-May-13 10:28:12

Uniform is depressing.

5madthings Thu 02-May-13 10:32:37

Sorry but ime it doesnt wash well at all, white polo shirts are a bloody pita and i would never dress my children in white.

Ds4 has come home covered in paint this week, i have soaked the shirt, used stain remover etc it has not come out and will have to be binned. The navy tops they used to wear washed fine but white is a bloody stupid colour for children esp in reception etc.

H&m and m&s and the supermarkets all sell good quality clothing at better prices that washes and wears well. Tbh i dont mind paying more for clothes IF they last. I have four boys and so hand stuff down but can never hand down the new uniform as its crap, white polo shirts arent white after half a term.

I would quite happily support a uniform.that was more relaxed or just rules over style etc but i hate the monopoly that is the schoolwear centre and logo jumpers etc that are poor quality.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 10:34:42

"Supporting authority just because it IS authority leads to some very dangerous places."

Crap... This is a school, not some totalitarian dictator. School rules encompass a lot of stuff that fails to meet the criteria of scientific study or strict logic. Does banning 'running in corridors' statistically save lives or just it just create a calmer atmosphere? Does banning smoking on the premises improve school performance? (Hey, millions of students get good grades and they smoke... hmm)

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 02-May-13 10:35:43

Thank you.

I'm sorry if my inability to grasp the topic is irritating, that isn't intentional.

I don't remember being bothered by uniform when I was at school, and I find it useful with DS1. Perhaps I would feel differently if I didn't like the uniform or found it poor quality?

BegoniaBampot Thu 02-May-13 10:36:21

i went to a poor performing high school. attitude, aspirations and behaviour was poor and uniform had almost disapeared. new head came in and brought in a strict uniform code as well as other higher expectations and general behaviour did improve. school started to develope it's sense of community again etc.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 10:39:36

They are rather silly examples, Cogito.

600 children running is far more likely to cause accidents.

Smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease.

Wearing one's own,

But you knew that.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 10:40:02

And why school and not university?

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 10:40:36

The "as well as" is rather telling, Begonia

I disagree with it being of any benefit to poorer families.

We're poor and I have to fork out hundreds a year on uniform (ds1 grows like a weed and rips clothes on a weekly basis)

I still have to buy normal clothes for afternoons and weekends so uniform costs are in addition to my normal clothing costs.

I hate it. It looks horrible, wears badly, is impossible to buy for half the year (ds1 had to wear tracksuit bottoms last week as he'd ripped every school pants he owned and there were none in the shops)

I'd be far happier without it tbh.

BumPotato Thu 02-May-13 10:41:27

Oh I wasn't saying the results were due to the uniform, just that they wear uniform and the results are good. They are two different factors that I don't think are linked.

I wouldn't say super-selective hully, no. But the school as a whole supports the child in being proud of their achievements, learning happily and reaching their full potential. By the results tables the school's methods work, apparently. Who'd have thought, huh?

The uniform is not a measure of how good a school is. However, I do like to see the children looking smart in their uniforms.

Tee2072 Thu 02-May-13 10:41:40

Once again, Ali, it isn't cheap.

My son starts P1 in September. I've already spent almost £100 on a school coat, jumpers and polo shirts, which have to be purchased through the school. I have no idea how much trousers and shoes will be.

I don't don't spend that much on me in one go, FFS, and it has to be bought now for September. Can't even spread it out!

Bonsoir Thu 02-May-13 10:41:56

I think that in environments where individuals have poor self-discipline, uniform (and other highly visual and tangible signals of a higher authority) might be useful and productive.

In environments where individuals have high levels of self-discipline, it is pointless to impose a uniform and may even be counterproductive (stifling).

SanityClause Thu 02-May-13 10:44:19

Cogito, smoking in a public building in the UK is illegal. It is illegal for most of the students in any school (except a 6th form college) to even own cigarettes. Running in a crowded place is dangerous, and inconsiderate.

These are not illogical, or unscientific rules for a school.

seeker Thu 02-May-13 10:44:44

The two highest achieving schools in our area are notably, by miles, the scruffiest. They do wear uniform,nbut seem to take a pride in looking as if they have been dragged through several hedges. The 6 th formers seem are very casual indeed. The results are stellar.

Not sure whether this means anything.....

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 10:45:38

Are they J and S, seeker?

SanityClause Thu 02-May-13 10:46:11

Sorry, x-post

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 10:46:37

No less valid for that sanity!

There is loads of research on how what we wear changes how we behave, it is easy enough to google. Anyone who has done psychology or sociology will tell you that there are numerous studies involving children and adults having a dress code and concentration/attitude. What we wear also changes how others perceive us/the environment and our reactions.

Bonsoir Thu 02-May-13 10:47:10

It can be very stressful to live up to high, externally imposed standards in everything, simultaneously. I can quite understand why DCs in high pressure, high performance schools need to "breathe" by not having to maintain high standards of dress.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 10:47:50

How does Europe, USA and all universities manage then birds?

I know parents who actually choose their childs secondary school on the basis of their uniforms shock

Hate them, I have yet to be convinced by any argument that they add value to a childs education. (although Maryz might be onto something there grin)

My feeling is it is linked to the class obsession that we have in this country. Selective state schools started it by wanted to look like independent schools and now all state secondaries have followed.

I, dh and dd all went through school without uniforms, we`ve all done well, A`Levels, uni etc... DSS is just starting 6th form and they want them to dress like mini business people, because as we all know everyone who goes to 6th form goes into business hmm Its just blatent snobbery.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 10:49:15

That is an interesting idea, dreams. You may be on to something there. Ape our "betters" and some of their gildedness will rub off..

exactly Hully grin the two ronnies class sketch always comes to mind!

CheesyPoofs Thu 02-May-13 10:58:07

School uniform is more about the school's image than attempts to improve performance IMO.

Although I agree it might improve behaviour - but 6th formers are not generally a badly behaved bunch are they?

daftdame Thu 02-May-13 11:00:05

It is an interesting pint that students should appear business like. In the work world this is more complex..dress code in a creative environment can be dramatically different from the law courts for example.

What kind of work world do schools wish to emulate?

daftdame Thu 02-May-13 11:01:27

point not pint! grin

TheYamiOfYawn Thu 02-May-13 11:01:53

I hate uniforms. DD's school made uniforms compulsory thus academic year, and it is a pain. White shirts and red jumpers mean that I can't shove the kids' clothes in the washing machine at the end of the week but have to do 3 separate loads. I have to buy clothes for different weather conditions in 2 sets, one for school and one for weekends and holidays. My daughter has stopped taking pleasure in choosing her clothes in the morning and now has to be dragged into her clothes, and she as she has stopped expressing herself through colour and shape of clothes she has started giving herself impractical hairstyles at playtime and yearning for fashionable, uncomfortable shoes. The uniform sweatshirt label says "handwash only". I have to check the weather forecast every morning as my usual layering tactic doesn't work. The trousers are horrible and the tights get inflatable after a while. Polo shirts and cardigans look really scruffy if I don't iron them (and I rarely do).

Bonsoir Thu 02-May-13 11:02:04

"Business attire" in a school uniform context makes them all look like call-centre workers. Or perhaps car rental workers.

tinierclanger Thu 02-May-13 11:02:28

I think the point about when uniform gets scruffy or damaged, that children from poorer backgrounds will have to carry on wearing it is a really important one. I'm not a fan of uniform but have sort of reluctantly accepted the "leveller" argument in the past but that really gives the lie to it.

Sorry, I know that's not what you were raising though Hully. I also find it really irritating when these sorts of policies aren't evidence-based and I agree if a school wants to introduce uniform they should have some firm evidence to back up the reasons

daftdame Thu 02-May-13 11:03:58

If you there is very rigid uniform at what point to children learn to make good decisions about appropriate clothing?

seeker Thu 02-May-13 11:06:05

It's one of those things parents use to judge schools without actually having to think at all. Like primary school homework.

It's very useful on school trips, though. And it was useful to me this morning when I rang a particular school to tell them that about 10 of theirs were walking down the central reservation of a dual carriageway........

Bonsoir Thu 02-May-13 11:07:37

I love homework! DD loves homework! It's the holidays and she is very happily doing her holiday homework...

DewDr0p Thu 02-May-13 11:11:18

While the Sutton Trust found no robust evidence that uniform improves performance, it also says that TAs make little or no difference as well. And I can tell you that at the school where am I am governor, the carefully recruited, well skilled, intelligently deployed TAs make a huge difference. So personally I take all of this with a pinch of salt.

My Mum (retired primary deputy) would tell you that introducing uniform was a key part of the senior management's strategy in turning the sink school into an over-subscribed primary with fab results. It was all about behaviour and sense of belonging and readiness to learn. But last time I mentioned that on mn I got shot down in flames cause it's not the view of Sutton. hmm

daftdame Thu 02-May-13 11:13:11

I think a uniform can often be easier up to about 6th form. From this age students should be trusted to start to make there own choices, as they could be away at university or in the world of work after the course.

A very rigid and unforgiving policy (such as only one supplier) however is counter-productive.

flatpackhamster Thu 02-May-13 11:15:19

If you there is very rigid uniform at what point to children learn to make good decisions about appropriate clothing?

If only there was, maybe, some way for them to view other clothes, or try them on outside school. If it was popular we could probably build an industry out of it.

seeker Thu 02-May-13 11:16:46

I don't think that uniform per se has any magical powers. But if uniform is introduced as part of a lot of other measures to turn round a failing school, it is one of the most visible so the most commented on. Having a school where people care about you, pay attention to you and focuses on achievement is what makes a difference. Uniform is just cosmetic.

daftdame Thu 02-May-13 11:24:20

flatpackhamster Well I never would have thought of that blush! You don't want to limit opportunity or industry thoughgrin!

our school had a new deputy head who wanted to move the 6th formers into business suits (rather than their existing "uniform" of jeans and hoodies), against the views of both the students and the 6th form heads.

He left and went to work for OFSTED. Not that I'm linking his views on uniform and his choice of job at all wink.

Beechview Thu 02-May-13 11:28:20

I agree Seeker. I watched a documentary about a failing secondary school in Hackney.
The school became really strict on school uniform and the children had to adhere to some very strict dress rules. I think the school saw it as a measure to generally improve discipline.
That was only one of the measures but the school improved vastly.

SoupDragon Thu 02-May-13 11:30:25

I always feel sorry for the children who need to wear their own clothes in order to be an individual.

daftdame Thu 02-May-13 11:30:40

Beechview I didn't see that documentary but please assure me they just didn't become really downtrodden...

seeker Thu 02-May-13 11:38:32

"I always feel sorry for the children who need to wear their own clothes in order to be an individual." grin

mummytime Thu 02-May-13 11:39:17

Parents usually like it, students often do too (my DD campaigned for Blazers at her Primary school, she didn't get them but she liked the useful pockets).
I think schools which are strict on any Uniform rules they have (at secondary level) tend to have better behaviour. But I think that is just, if you have a rule then enforce it taking effect.
I think there are some great schools with no Uniform.

However for a failing school introducing a new Uniform can be a very visual signal that the regime has changed. Of course without other real changes, nothing will really change.

SoupDragon Thu 02-May-13 11:41:13

I dread to think how "individual" DS2 and DD would be if they wore their own clothes all the time. Thank goodness it is stifled for 5 days of the week.


RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 11:43:50

TinierClanger, I am really glad that you agree with this point.

Thankfully, and mercifully ds1 doesn't yet car if his clothes are scruffy, which they are - despite best efforts at washing, with vanish et al, his shirts are no longer white and have stains on them that will not come off. Many have holes in them because he is a boy, (though could equally be a girl) and likes to play rough-ish games at break.
These shirts are not ancient. I bought them new last autumn.
So he keeps wearing them - I don't have time or hands free to stitch the holes, as I have a baby who won't be put down most of the day.
He wears them with the stains and holes, though they have been washed so are technically 'clean'.
He doesn't currently care.
But I can tell that people judge him, and us, on his appearance and he often looks shocking.
in contrast at the weekend he looks great. I'd never dress him in white if I had the choice - so his home clothes are colourful, they hide any stains, they wash well. They are tough and they are comfortable. They are in short suitable for children.

Uniforms are generally the least suitable clothing for children that anyone can imagine. I think that's the point of it.

Dahlialover Thu 02-May-13 11:45:56

There is probably a correlation between school uniform and outcome.

But no proof of cause and effect. It is probably because people who like their children to go to a school with uniform like their children to do well.

daftdame Thu 02-May-13 11:47:16

Some times people are just such individuals a uniform doesn't really stay looking like one.

I remember reading Joanna Lumley's auto biography where her and her friend used to get old uniform out of lost property to wear, to see who could get away with looking the scruffiest! Thus they found a new way to rebel. I think, as I remember, she was disappointed when her teachers didn't noticegrin.

Flobbadobs Thu 02-May-13 11:50:09

Interesting you mention failing schools seeker.
6 years ago the high school that DS now attends was in special measures and at the stage where they had been given 12 months to turn themselves around. They brought in a super head who blew the place wide open in order to keep the school.
One of the first things he did was to crack down on uniform.replaced the jumpers with blazers, organised a house system with each house having its own tie which had to be tied in such a way so a certain length of tie was showing under the knot, banned any skirts other than the official school issued skirt, plain black shoes -he even banned walking shoes on school premises until there was a backlash as we are pretty rural-. The students aren't even allowed to take off their blazers unless they get permission from the teacher!
Now I'm not suggesting that the uniform is the reason that the schools last OFSTED report was good with outstanding qualities, the staff have worked really bloody hard to get there and the school is recognised at national level in a certain subject but the current head uses it as a symbol of the pride that the students take in their school. At the open evening last year (DS is in yr 7) he constantly all the bloody time connected looking smart to feeling smart and being organised which hopefully leads to better performance.
The SATS and exam results in this schools case would back up his assertion but it's not the uniform on its own, more a case of better teaching and I suppose a better attitude within the school.

Maryz Thu 02-May-13 11:51:30

Being sensible for a minute, doesn't it really depend on the "uniform"?

Some of the English and Northern Irish girls' uniforms I see (on dd's Facebook, news items etc) seem to by a real parody of a uniform. If a uniform does look like this is there any point to it at all? Because you couldn't go to work like that anyway.

I think there will be a massive divide on this topic between parents of primary school children and those with children between, say 12 and 16.

Post 16 they should be sensible enough to follow a dress code.

Under 12 (or 10), the parents pick the clothes anyway so you would expect them to look reasonable.

Children of 12 to 15 given free range either to choose their own clothes or to wear their "uniform" as they like, will always have the potential for some completely inappropriate outfits.

So it isn't just a matter of uniform - it's how the uniform rule is applied. And surely a sensible and strictly enforced "dress code" would have the same affect on standards and pride in appearance and respectability of school?

Beechview Thu 02-May-13 11:53:22

daftdame the documentary was aired a while back but it seemed quite positive. The kids were happy. The emphasis was on how well the school had done so the filming was reflecting that.

Mrsrobertduvall Thu 02-May-13 11:57:02

Dd is year 11 and since Easter they have been allowed to wear their own clothes.
It has caused great angst amongst the girls...what to wear, will anyone else be wearing it, can't wear it more than once in a week etc.
Most of them would rather be in uniform.

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 12:01:37

I researched this a few years ago in an attempt to convince dd to start a campaign at school. From what I remember there was a fair bit of research made in the US and Australia but it was a bit dense, in that historically only private schools had uniforms and therefore the stats were skewed. There was an important piece done in the US which has had a huge effect over there meaning that most schools are becoming uniform schools. They based this on levels of 'delinquency' in a school and one of the reasons schools with uniforms worked better was it reduced gang affiliation and therefore took that outside the school.

I agree with you in that the system is fundamentally illogical, and as seeker says, another way for people to judge schools.

I am completely against uniform for primary children as it is dehumanising. I can understand the advantages at secondary where teachers need a homogenous group to work with.

The state school up the road has no uniform and has some of the best results in the country. I think there is absolutely no difference in academic performance. The difference is that although a lot of them go a bit nuts at 12 with goth affiliations etc, over time they settle into being themselves and don't feel the need to score points with clothes. They often choose similar clothes anyway, almost their own choice of uniform. The other non uniform secondary I know has a less privileged demographic and lower academic performance and the girls mostly wear jeans, trainers and have a kind of 'college' look.

I think for girls uniform is particularly restricting.

Suzieismyname Thu 02-May-13 12:11:12

I grew up on benefits. Poorest family in the school. Uniform was expensive but it lasted. Unless someone threw tippex down it... had to endure a couple of terms with a tippex covered skirt but that was a hell of a lot less embarrassing than the occasional non-uniform days when I turned up in hand me downs and everyone else was super trendy.
Would I have done so well at school if I'd felt so conscious of my appearance every day? I think not!
That's just my personal experience rather than a proper study.
I don't understand how having to buy uniform works out more expensive yhsn not? You just buy fewer 'home' clothes!

seeker Thu 02-May-13 12:13:37

"I am completely against uniform for primary children as it is dehumanising"


Maat Thu 02-May-13 12:15:52

I like the fact my DC had a uniform at primary school for no other reason than I didn't have to think about what they were wearing every day.

mummytime Thu 02-May-13 12:16:37

For Primary, if you can buy the Uniform in the Supermarkets - it tends to be cheaper and much harder wearing than similarly priced "non-uniform" clothes.

I think uniforms can only be a good thing.
They don't cause a divide between rich & poor, as everyone regardless of class is wearing the same.

It looks smart

When on school trips, teachers can visibly see who's part of their group

It lasts and is machine washable and iron free

seeker Thu 02-May-13 12:19:58

Schools are specifically not allowed to specify expensive uniform. You should challenge any school which tries this, it's back door selection. And it does happen.

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 12:23:57

Seeker - Why do schools want children under the age of 11 to all look the same? Wanting anyone to lose their individuality is the first step to distancing yourself from their humanity. It has a purpose in the world of emergency services, sports and adult work environments but not among the under 11s, there it is dehumanising.

Pumpkin - A tabard will do for school trips. Dark blazers reduce visibility.

All good clothes last and are washable.

Children can look smart in their own clothes.

Children under 11 don't tend to discriminate against each other unless it is encouraged by parents.

Suzieismyname Thu 02-May-13 12:29:54

My daughter is an individual at school because of what she DOES not how she LOOKS.

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 12:36:30

What she DOES is conform to what someone else thinks makes her look good, she is NOT DOING freedom of choice.

SofaKing Thu 02-May-13 12:38:15

The high school my children are expected to go to currently has a draconian uniform policy- blazers must be worn, outside coats taken off once on school premises so that uniform is visible, an exhaustive list of requirements both for regular uniform and PE kit.

My nephew got 8 standard grades at 1, and 5 highers at A. He received no academic encouragement or praise, but was frequently stopped in the corridors by the head, who complained that he was wearing the wrong colour of shoes and also phoned his mother to complain about this.

They have a new head now, but if there uniform policy isn't changed, I won't be sending them there. A school which has time to badger pupils about what they wear, but has no interest in their academic abilities, is no good for me when I want my children to get good exam results.

I think half the problem is that uniform can help, IF coupled with measures to make students proud of their school and to make the school a better place for learning. But you can't just insist everyone wear uniform and expect it to make a difference when nothing else is being done to improve the school.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 12:39:28

Suzie, that's great but would you be happy to have the same haircut or clothes as everyone else you work with?

Don't you feel that the right to self expression is fairly important in terms of clothing and appearance?

Seeker, schools are very much allowed to impose whatever uniform they wish. There are guidelines from the DofE but these are not legally enforceable. Ours for one ignored them completely.

Farewelltoarms Thu 02-May-13 12:40:04

Seeker is that true about expensive uniform? I've posted this link before, but this is the new West London Free School Primary uniform. Only one supplier (same one as Eton's or something), everything logo-ed.
Sample items include jumpers for £18.50, polos for £7.50, gingham dress for £14, pinafore for £18. Ie everything costing at least double or even triple the generic items that I get.
If you're right, then surely then someone should challenge this list?
FWIW I think no uniform works in schools with quite a homogenous intake (e.g. St pauls girls). However in a very mixed school such as my kids' primary the uniform is excellent. However, it's very loose and there are no petty rules about suppliers or shoes as I think both the teachers and parents have better things to do than stress about whether shirts have logos on or not.
The new head introduced it and sats and ofsted has improved dramatically since. However, as someone above said, it is part of a whole raft of measures and is probably symbolic more than real.

Farewelltoarms Thu 02-May-13 12:42:26

BTW the head of the West London School came onto the thread and defended the supplier uniform thing. Said they were much more durable than ones you can buy elsewhere. My children's fleeces are fourth hand and are fine even though they cost half/third. How many children wear out their uniforms as opposed to grow out of them?
Not including trousers in that. My son must have razors for knees...

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 12:43:09

I agree it's back door selection btw

I just resolved to buy two of the most expensive items, and send him wearing them regardless of any damage or staining - before they made these items compulsory, we had a stockpile of cheaper alternatives so he was able to wear clean things.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 12:44:41

No it's not true sadly.

Gvt documents stipulate that governors SHOULD consider cost and availability so as not to discriminate on grounds of poverty/income

however our governors ignored this

They just sad, if anyone has trouble affording it, have a discreet word and something will be done to help.

No one likes having a word about how poor they are

DD's sixth form college required business suits but were quite upfront in that it was primarily to attract parents to the school.
On open days the girls looked very smart, on normal school days, the code was relaxed.

Uniform in that case was marketing

Suzieismyname Thu 02-May-13 12:47:28

I don't work at the moment but I have worn uniform. Didn't bother me at all.

Still18atheart Thu 02-May-13 12:54:32

After 16 went to a non uniform college and I really liked the freedom of not being in the most old fashioned stuffiest uniform imaginable. Had I just had to wear a jumper, polo and black trouser to school might not have felt the same way. As that's a variation of what I worse anyway but swapped black trousers for jeans

mummytime Thu 02-May-13 12:54:52

Wonderingagain - yes all good clothes last. However good clothes which last, tend to be expensive! Except school Uniform, which when bought from my local supermarket lasts pretty well, unlike their range of kids clothes. The school uniform clothes are also cheaper, because they can buy it in huge numbers, and there is no angst about left over stock. Uniform sells year after year.

If you think children need to wear their own clothes to express individuality, then you are teaching them that what matters is how they look. Also young children like to look like their friends. So if given free range choose to dress like their friends. Or even get excited when they find all their class are wearing the same M and S knickers (and no it wasn't part of school uniform).

Suzieismyname Thu 02-May-13 12:58:02

mummytime said it better than me. Thanks!

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 02-May-13 13:02:08

New Head Teachers use a change in school uniform as an indicator of regime change. My DCs' HT did this. Sadly he is an incompetent loon so is currently leading the students in a polyester clad headlong charge to the bottom of the league tables.

I read the link to the Sutton Trust report. I thought this quote to be absolutely fascinating and totally chimes in with my own experience as both parent and trainer:

“One study even estimates that the impact of rapid feedback on learning is 124 times more cost effective that reducing class sizes.”

The feedback my DCs get is practically non-existent except for web-based homework (MyMaths).

AmberLeaf Thu 02-May-13 13:05:13

There are lots of good things about uniform IMO, but, I think some secondaries take the enforcement of it way too far.

Sending a pupil home because of one small aspect of the uniform being wrong is ridiculous and that does happen a lot in some schools.

I think it makes much more sense to have a pupil in school but in slightly incorrect uniform, than to have them sent home to change and miss lesson time to do so.

It is really petty and counter productive.

5Foot5 Thu 02-May-13 13:05:46

At my dc's school the sixth form has not had a uniform, now they plan to make them wear "business suits" (the years below have a uniform).

This is the set up at my DDs school. Until four or five years ago the Sixth Form were allowed to wear what they liked (within reason) while the rest of the school had to observe a strict uniform policy. They then changed so that the Sixth had to wear "business dress". But, interestingly enough, it was the sixth-formers themselves who voted for the change.

My DD is in lower sixth and as far as I can tell there is no great resentment to the rule. In fact the way it is presented to them is that they have to observe the same dress code as the teachers.

seeker Thu 02-May-13 13:06:13

I'm afraid that I equate this business of uniform stifling individuality with "spirited" children, and Islington Intolerances- "Oh Jocasta, darling- please don't draw on seeker's white walls- yes, I know that they boring and you only wanted to make them prettier for seeker- you are such a kind girl. I'm sorry, seeker, she was at a party today and ate some Haribo. the sugar always makes her a little over excited..."

<dons tin hat and hides>

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 13:11:05

'If you think children need to wear their own clothes to express individuality, then you are teaching them that what matters is how they look.'

One could argue exactly the same point regarding the enforcement of uniform.

TheSmallClanger Thu 02-May-13 13:14:44

The argument about school uniform making "poor kids" (that's all relative) not stand out is utter BS. Teenagers are ruthless and can spot a handed down "schoolwear" skirt above an M&S office skirt at ten paces. That doesn't even take into account shoes, bags, hair accessories and how these are worn.

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 02-May-13 13:17:16

I dont think my DCs are made more or less individual by uniform. What I do think is that a polyester uniform is the least appropriate clothing for teenagers.

IME uniform is a distraction for the school. My DCs' school wastes enormous amounts of time on enforcing the uniform. It is currently competing for the 'worst school in Britain' award. More time spent on managing the school effectively and less on worrying about the shade of socks worn by the students would be the way to go.

edwinamerckx Thu 02-May-13 13:18:02

Why don't any of the uniform defenders address the fact that most countries don't have school uniforms and yet in many cases have educational outcomes far superior to those of the UK (the Nordic countries spring to mind.)

The sixth form business dress thing is even more depressing - as if working in an office is all that we expect teenagers to aspire to. My local sixth form college has no uniform or even dress code and still manages to send dozens to Oxbridge every year.

TheSmallClanger Thu 02-May-13 13:20:01

I agree with both Worry and edwina here. Most countries manage fine without school uniforms, including the USA and most of continental Europe. And I'm sure the best teachers aren't the ones who want to spend any time at all obsessing over jumpers and shoes.

SoupDragon Thu 02-May-13 13:22:10

Why do schools want children under the age of 11 to all look the same?

Interestingly, I find it infinitely easier to identify my child(ren) in amongst a group of uniformed children than it is when they have mufti day. Possibly because it makes you focus on the child and not whatever they happen to be wearing. I am not alone in finding this amongst the parents are the school gates. My child will never look the same as another just because she happens to be wearing the same uniform.

Wanting anyone to lose their individuality is the first step to distancing yourself from their humanity.

My children have never lost their individuality through wearing uniform. How sad that you think yours have.

but not among the under 11s, there it is dehumanising

Only a twat would "dehumanise" a child (or adult) on the basis of what they are wearing and they are likely to be the kind of person who does this regardless.

LisaMed Thu 02-May-13 13:23:25

Our school uniform is inexpensive. You can buy from all major supermarkets or get the logo'ed stuff from M&S (which isn't that much dearer than Asda if you don't get the logo'ed stuff, but DS is only six and I don't know how long that will last). Logo'ed stuff is optional. Uniform allows shirts or polos, sweaters that can be sweatshirts or v necked etc. I would be vvvv militant if it was otherwise. Fortunately there are a lot of opinionated and articulate mouthy cows ladies locally so the HT picks her battles.

You could argue that putting on a particular set of clothing cues your mind to say that eg I am wearing school uniform, it is a learning day. Flylady uses the same principle. Is the technical term psychodrama?

I think it would be hard to find hard evidence because compulsory uniform usually comes bundled up with other stuff that will bring up school grades. There are just so many variables - social background of catchment, local expectations, poor leadership within school etc

Horrid Henry does not wear school uniform.

SoupDragon Thu 02-May-13 13:25:06

Why don't any of the uniform defenders address the fact that most countries don't have school uniforms and yet in many cases have educational outcomes far superior to those of the UK (the Nordic countries spring to mind.)

Because I am not defending it on the basis of academic outcome.

Of course, uniform is not the only difference between the UK education system and that of other countries so trying to make an kind of comparison based on what the pupils wear is rather pointless.

DD1 got very irate that her 6th form dress guidelines banned strappy tops, but teachers were allowed to wear them. Also that boys couldn't wear shorts, but girls could (over tights or leggings). And when three quarter length trousers became long shorts.

I did like the "no cleavages of either kind" part though wink.

knitknack Thu 02-May-13 13:28:58

I think you need to be a teacher to understand the HUGE power of the "do your top button up please" as an easy and calm way to settle a pupil with more challenging behaviour and thus be able to get on with the actual learning...

Until you've taken 70 year sevens out on a field trip in late november dressed only in thin leggings, jelly shoes and a vest top... and for sixth formers, until you've seen your seventh pair of knickers of a morning because for some girls 'skirt' means 'belt' you don't really appreciate the joy of a business suit with knee length skirt!

Trust me, teachers have SO much else to be dealing with/thinking about -and Gove is removing any sense of authority/professionalism from us as it is. Please let us continue to have sensibly dressed children.

Whats Mufti stand for? Keep hearing it on here and although I know its for `own clothes` day but what does Mufti mean? (Im sure in my day it meant fanjo)

AlanMoore Thu 02-May-13 13:31:08

SofaKing's post sounds like my experience at school. Good attendance, well-behaved, on sports team, student council and straight As but my head of year only ever spoke to me to tell me to tuck my shirt in, threaten me with suspension over blue streak in hair, etc. I used to find it sad that she got so angry about something so petty. Our uniform was horrid, collar and tie, blazer that you weren't allowed to take off unless somebody fainted, etc., all at bog standard comp. Really uncomfortable especially once girls had started to 'develop' and always too hot or too cold!

Our local secondary wear black trousers, white shirt with tie and navy jumper - it looks AWFUL. Skirts/shorts are not allowed and they are very funny about shirts (blouses are not allowed, bizarrely - how can they tell?) so any arguments about looking smart go out the window here.
Have you seen a size 16 woman stuffed into a collar and tie with her SHIRT tucked into a pair of trousers at your place of work lately?
No, of course you haven't, because it's uncomfortable and doesn't look nice. Ties are stupid, my DP works in a govt organisation and never wears a tie even if he's meeting ministers. He wears smart shirts/trousers/shoes/jumper but not a tie.

I have no problem with the primary uniforms near us - polo top or shirt/blouse with sweatshirt/cardi in school colour or with logo and grey trousers/shorts/pinafore/skirt. They also allow trainers or boots to be worn which I think is great. The kids look smart but they're not being restricted by collars or sodding blazers.

BTW where I work there is a goth senior manager, she wears black lacy tops under black suits and black pointy boots, and there is a Rastafarian man in finance who just ties his dreads back and looks perfectly smart in his trousers/shirt/jumper, no reason why you can't be a bit 'yourself'!

jacks365 Thu 02-May-13 13:34:30

While i can fully understand how some parents feel especially over primary children i wish my dd's sixth form would do uniform. It is costing far more to have her in her own clothes. You need lots of changes or you get 'oh you're in that again' you need seasonal and it all adds up. Until my eldest started the sixth form i didn't realise how much i saved because they were in a good hard wearing uniform, my eldest really missed her school blazer too or at least the big pockets.

I found one thing interesting someone commented that wearing uniform improves attendance but as one local school keeps saying attendance affects results so if uniform means higher attendance then results will improve

edwinamerckx Thu 02-May-13 13:37:48

knitknack but why would year 7s or 6th formers dress like that? Our sixth formers have no uniform or dress code, they are largely in jeans and t-shirts, shorts in summer. There are a handful of goths and punks. Basically they look like university students.

lollilou Thu 02-May-13 13:38:05

When I was 14 or so school uniform was evil and I did everything I could to wear it individually which included rolling up the waistband of my skirt, turning the blazer inside out and putting the tie around my middle as a belt, "yes but Miss I AM wearing it".
Now that I am old and have a dd I thank the heavens for her uniform. I couldn't afford to keep her in the many outfits she would want plus the drama of "Where are my leggings? what do you mean they are in the wash, nooo !!" every morning at 7.30 would turn my hair greyer than it is already. grin

blueberryupsidedown Thu 02-May-13 13:40:27

School uniforms are brilliant. I went through school, primary and secondary, without a uniform (not in this country) and stressed out about what other kids would say (we were poor) and the fact that my clothes were home made and/or hand me downs, or from the second hand shop. Every bloody day I worried about it. My mum insisting that I'd wear the same trousers for a full week and the kids laughing at me, Honestly, I love school uniforms, I think that children's personalities shine through, I have no concern at all about loosing sense of identity. And they are not expensive at our school. Basic grey trousers, white shirt, navy jumper, black shoes. I don't know and don't care if it has any impact on attendence or on achievement. I do care that they are lot less stressful for children and I don't need any statistical data to back me up.

Maat Thu 02-May-13 13:41:40

I support a reasonably priced uniform for schools (not colleges).

However, school dress code is not just about the clothes. At both the primary and senior school my DC went to, they were very strict about hairstyles and shoes. No coloured hair, not even the tiniest logo on a shoe.

Personally, I think that is taking things a little too far. Why should it matter if a pupil has a red tint put on her hair?

knitknack Thu 02-May-13 13:41:46

edwin I don't understand your question? (not being silly, I genuinely don't!) The examples I gave were things that regularly happen to me as a teacher. You'd be amazing how some parents dress their children when it's non-uniform day, or a trip... and I imagine they have no control over how their year 12/13 daughters dress...

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 13:42:58


NO proof then.


Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 13:44:10


You can have a dress code without it having to be a suit.

knitknack Thu 02-May-13 13:47:49

You can hully, you can. Have you taught teenagers?

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 13:54:22

Not in a school.

Send them home if they are dressed inappropriately. Either they will get fed up with it, their parents will and will enforce sensible dress, or they won't turn up again and they are unlikely to be much loss.

knitknack Thu 02-May-13 13:54:52

Individuals don't have the power to send a student home.

knitknack Thu 02-May-13 13:55:02

Individual teachers, sorry.

knitknack Thu 02-May-13 13:55:55

sadly you can't just weed out students who are 'unlikely to be much of a loss' - life would be blissful if you could! :D

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 13:58:35

<remembers why she isn't a teacher>

Eeeeeowwwfftz Thu 02-May-13 14:00:47

In the unlikely event that anyone actually wants to see the answer to the OP's original question, here it is. I haven't read the original articles. Yet.

AmberLeaf Thu 02-May-13 14:04:00

I think you need to be a teacher to understand the HUGE power of the "do your top button up please" as an easy and calm way to settle a pupil with more challenging behaviour and thus be able to get on with the actual learning


Think you may have missed out the word trip somewhere in there.

Maryz Thu 02-May-13 14:04:58

So, what would the dress code be?

As I suspect some kids would be quite inventive grin

Bum cheeks covered, boobs covered for the girls.

Could we introduce a "boxers covered" for the boys? Please.

Or would it be restrictive - trousers not jeans or shorts (personally I think jeans are fine, as are leggings, but some schools might not like the very tight jeans or the see-through leggings); t-shirts not strappy tops or wife-beaters; no logos (what counts as a logo, is Nike ok, but FCUK not?).

Specified height of heel/length of skirt/type of shoe sole (for floor marking purposes).

It could get quite complicated now I think about it.

I've never worn a school uniform in my life. Achieved excellent grades in middle school, high school and university. Was also an active member of the student body: school plays, school choir, field hockey and track team. Despite my native country's feral attitude towards the clothing of schoolchildren, I was very well behaved. So were the majority of kids at my school. Out of ~165 students in my class, only one did not graduate on time, and he was gutted that he didn't. Uniform != behavior.

There was a dress code. You were not allowed to dress like a tramp (short skirts, short-shorts, belly shirts). You could not wear t-shirts with swear words or sexual innuendos on them. Kids who violated this code were either sent home to change or at least made to turn their t-shirts inside out. So, it wasn't a complete free-for-all either. You can still have standards without making everyone dress exactly the same - that is how it actually works in the adult world, in many workplaces.

My 7 year-old stepdaughter wears a uniform for school. You would think this would cure her of her fashion hangups and premature vanity, but it does nothing of the sort. Despite the school's flexibility about these things, DSD insists she must wear the logo sweatshirt to be socially acceptable, it cannot be a cardigan from ASDA. All of her cardigans have "mysteriously" disappeared. The shirt must be a polo shirt - long-sleeved blouses for wintertime won't do, because one her friends laughed at her the day she wore one. It must be either trousers or a dress, but never a skirt, because the skirts we bought for her are "too long".

Meanwhile, DSD is a well behaved child, but she's not well behaved because we stuff her into a uniform five days a week. She's well behaved because we expect her to be well behaved!

You can see where I am on school uniforms. :-p

knitknack Thu 02-May-13 14:13:02

Amberleaf: ahahahahaha! thank you!! hahahahahaha. brilliant.

Now I really must prepare for the weekend revision session I'm running in my own time to help students wipes tears

Blu Thu 02-May-13 14:14:04

DS went to an 'Outstanding' primary in a non-leafy area of s London, which was truly impressive in it's ability to enable kids to behave well, apply themselves to learning and look after each other. Really lovely atmosphere, excellent results.

No uniform.

No uniform was normal, there was no big deal about it, the kids wore 'nromal' clothes, and made no attempt to dress comeptitively or as if they were going to a party - no special deal, just getting dressed. The girls generally wore jeans and tops, or skirts and leggings and tops, the boys wore whatever.

It was great - i loved not having to have specific uniform items ready and washed.

Now he is at a secondary which applies uniform rules very strictly. It's also fine. Excpet they are often boililng hot in summer and cold in winter, in observing the uniform rules.

mummytime Thu 02-May-13 14:17:40

Dress code would be worse. Yes for sixth form, they can handle the freedom. But year 9/10's would push it to its limit, just as they do School Uniform. I should know, my school had "school dress", which was basically anything except Jeans is fine as long as it is blue. I like Blue but from 13 to 16 I did not wear blue ever, except Denim. And I was a goody goody swot.

BTW some people have argued that British fashion designers are so innovative because of school uniform. The idea that you had something so limited to rebel against and within which to express your individuality; leads to greater innovation.

But I would also be quite happy to send my kids to a good school without a uniform. Although I am relieved that we have it at primary as I find it far cheaper.

BTW the stricter Uniform does tend to mean lots of people are wearing second hand. We've got lots of hand me down £15+ skirts for example, and they will be passed on.

AmberLeaf Thu 02-May-13 14:19:12

Knitknack you're very welcome!

Do pass that on though, I'm sure there are thousands of teachers in ESBD units all over the country that would find that gem helpful.

Just tell them to do their top buttons up

thankGodTheSunIsFinallyOut Thu 02-May-13 14:24:11

Love school uniform, never goes out of fashion, cheap (buy two get one free almost every June at well-known retailer with ampersand in middle of name). Gets passed from child to child year after year and still takes a kicking. DD1 has sweats and cardigans with 3 previous owners which still can get passed to DD2.

Designer Oswald Boating says he loved his uniform "It's where I got my whole taste for the suit".

and Vivienne Westwood customised her uniforms "As a teenager in the 1950s, she customised her school uniform to emulate the fashionable pencil skirt and made many of her own clothes".

Can't imagine spending time customising a pink Hello Kitty shirt and leggings which my kids would choose to wear (and comes in at a similar price to sturdy uniform at afore-mentioned ampersand shop, although IMHO not nearly as well made).

Ooops but not sure about the statistics of achievement OP blush

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 14:28:28

Thanks you Eeeeeeeeeeeee

Well Ozwald Boateng went to a private school so no nasty polyester there, and today you cant even keep your top button undone let alone customise your uniform like Vivienne Westwood, so we cant compare either to most state school uniforms.

TheSmallClanger Thu 02-May-13 14:29:09

That is bollocks about "do your top button up" being a useful tool. It's the start of an argument, from which some students just learn a super-easy way to wind up teachers and derail what they need to do.

I used to teach in FE and tried to enforce wearing of protective clothing. Mostly they did, but sometimes, I wasn't going to waste the class's time and my energy on trying to stamp my authority on a bunch of hormonal 17yo boys. I just used to remind them that they'd get covered in shite and carry on.

thankGodTheSunIsFinallyOut Thu 02-May-13 14:40:07

Under school uniform efficacy there are some vague pro and con arguments:

I think these Americans are saying that the achievement is not better but the kids now look like they have come to school to learn as opposed to commit offences (this is California mind).

vess Thu 02-May-13 14:48:20

I haven't read the whole thread, but DS goes to a non-uniform secondary and on the whole it works out a lot cheaper as I don't have to buy uniform plus normal clothes.
Interestingly, the boys quite like looking smart!

ConferencePear Thu 02-May-13 14:52:39

I would like to see some research done in British schools. Most of what is quoted on this thread is from other countries.
From my own teaching experience in secondary schools I make the following observations.
In one school where I worked there was no uniform specified. In fact though all the kids wore jeans and the boys in particular didn't care if they were dirty.
Another school decided to introduce uniform. Everyone, the pupils, staffs and parents were consulted and came up with a very simple dress code which, except for a logo sweatshirt, could be bought anywhere. Those who wore ethnic dress fitted well within it. This was then presented to the governors and everyone just accepted it.
What a shame no-one thought of doing some research into whether or not it changed school performance. It was a good and improving school anyway.

cumfy Thu 02-May-13 14:55:40
HamletsSister Thu 02-May-13 14:59:50

Not actual quantitative data - no. But anecdotal evidence that it doesn't make much of a difference. When I arrived here (at my school) there was no uniform beyond them being asked not to show too much flesh or advertise alcohol (which also meant no to many football strips). A uniform, of sorts, was introduced: black trousers, skirt or shorts, black hoodie (school bought or your own plain black one) and a white t shirt or shirt.

Nothing has changed. The pupils are the same - the ones who pushed the boundaries before (t shirts with rude slogans - my personal favourite "I don't drink water. Fish fuck in it!") are similar to those who now wear a navy hoodie or whose white t shirt is permanently in the wash.

Results are the same. Behaviour is the same. Pupils are the same.

The only slight issue I have with it (and the rules are very, very lightly applied, if at all, by management) is that it creates bad feeling. As a parent, I am pissed off by the poor quality hoodies. My children don't see how black jeans make them better than ordinary ones. As a teacher, I spend more time nagging and cajoling than I did.

I came from a background of very, very strict uniform (school issued and free so everyone had the same and you handed it back and got more when you outgrew it). I always felt strongly in favour of uniform but now, not really.

I actually miss the pupils showing off what is in fashion. I miss their chance to be individuals without breaking rules (they now only have to wear a scarf, red t shirt etc to break the rules).

Childhood / teens are horribly short and I quite like the idea of them being given some freedom. My children wear it (they have to - I teach here) and I nag pupils but I do both out of a sense of duty rather than because I feel it does anything at all to improve results.

We have had pupils go on into all the professions. They cope, just as soldiers do, with a new "unform", just as they cope with moving into retail and wearing a uniform.

Would abolish it tomorrow were I Queen!

Fillyjonk75 Thu 02-May-13 15:13:08

I used to be quite pro uniform, but there are so many countries doing better than the UK educationally who don't wear uniform that now I'm ambivalent about it.

burberryqueen Thu 02-May-13 15:20:10

yesterday the art teacher made my daughter leave the class and remove the t shirt that she had on under her school shirt as it was 'not uniform'. When my daughter said she would like to leave it on as she was cold and her school shirt was see through (dd is 14) the teacher said she didnt care and to go and take it off.
I wonder how that enhanced my daughter's learning experience....
I wonder if the teacher is heartless or perverse....
What a silly waste of time money and energy the uniform is.
Last year there was a special assembly where the children were told that it had been scientifically proven that they would learn better if they all wore the same colour shoes.....i

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 15:49:31

It does nothing for academic achievement, it wastes teacher's time, it adds another layer of rules to be broken and create conflict, it doesn't keep children warm in winter, it doesn't keep them cool in summer, it is not flattering unless they plan to work in retail, it adds a thin veneer of respectability and equality that does not stand up to scrutiny.

Keep uniform for people who have a function in society - the emergency services, the doctors. But children are children - let them wear jeans FFS.

soupdragon My children have never lost their individuality through wearing uniform. How sad that you think yours have.

That's a bit nasty but I won't report it. smile

SoupDragon Thu 02-May-13 15:51:35

How is it nasty?

SoupDragon Thu 02-May-13 15:53:01

You clearly think your children would lose their individuality through wearing a uniform. I find that very sad indeed. There is nothing nasty about stating that.

seeker Thu 02-May-13 15:53:34

"But children are children - let them wear jeans FFS."

What, all of them?grin

melika Thu 02-May-13 16:06:21

I agree with uniform totally. If my DS was allowed to wear what he liked he would pester me for a load of new tshirts hoodies,trainers and jeans. They won't wear Asda, so don't go there.
As it is, he has one blazer, a load of shirts (I got for £2 each) and a couple of trousers. It does not cost more for uniform.

The school is high achieving and will not allow ties to be worn loose,shirt tucked in, cuffs always buttoned, no tolerance what so ever.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 16:10:19

thank you,cumfy

BizzyLizzy70 Thu 02-May-13 16:36:52

This one analyses loads of studies on uniform. Results are surprising. I am pro uniform as it would seem common sense it would prevent bullying.

louisianablue2000 Thu 02-May-13 16:41:40

I went to a school in the UK without a uniform. Despite that we were (and still are) one of the top performing states in the country (Scotland) and I managed to get two degrees from ancient universities (including the oldest English one). I now work for a very large corporation and we are not expected to wear suits, so far it doesn't seem to have damaged the company.

All the arguments for uniforms are bullshit. We didn't spend a fortune on clothes, we all wore jeans (leggings hadn't been invented as casual wear yet!) and t-shirts and jumpers. Jump forward 20 years and my nieces go to a good state school in London that doesn't have uniforms. They also don't have competitive dressing at their school.

My daughter has to wear a uniform to her primary. I think it encourages gender stereotypes, she came home from school the first day she wore trousers really upset because her friends had told her 'girl's don't wear trousers' despite having worn jeans for years at nursery without comment. The girls at the local secondary all look like trollops with their short skirts that barely cover their bums and their too tight shirts and nasty polyester jackets. Why anyone thinks that's smart heaven knows! Funnily enough when they all go to the local 6th form college they all start looking much better and less sexual in their own casual clothes.

fishandmonkey Thu 02-May-13 17:33:28

here's a review - it's a bit old (1996) but by a fab author so still good:

thermalsinapril Thu 02-May-13 17:40:52

A good uniform is smart, reduces competitive dressing, makes it easier for parents to get the clothes ready each day, identifies the members of a school, and I think fosters a sense of pride in the school.

I don't like the ubiquitous black-and-white uniforms which came in a few decades ago. They're so boring and dull, and bound to make everyone miserable! Before then, uniforms were different colours which were far jollier and were a better identity for the school. Unlucky if you got the school with a purple-and-orange striped blazer with green spots I guess though grin

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 17:41:33

Agree with every word, fish

twilight3 Thu 02-May-13 17:48:58

a few weeks ago I sat through a school assembly where the children were verbally taught to be individuals. There was a whole lecture about how "we all like different things and don't have to be the same, we don't have to wear the same clothes or play the same games, we don't have to do things just because others tell us to do them, we have to think for themselves and decide what we'd like to do"...

That was followed by a picture of a flock of sheep about which the teacher said "don't be sheep. You see how sheep all look like each other? You have to look different, to be individual". At that point I couldn't help but staring with confusion at the 300 identically dressed children, who were ordered to pray on cue....

Interesting experience for all involved.... My children did come home all confused, I have to admit...

twilight3 Thu 02-May-13 17:50:05

themselves in fourth line = ourselves

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 17:56:21

Quite, twilight

flatpackhamster Thu 02-May-13 18:40:03


^here's a review - it's a bit old (1996) but by a fab author so still good:^

This is the guy who believes that competition in schools is a bad thing, isn't it?

thermalsinapril Thu 02-May-13 18:40:44

That's the same for many things in school twilight, so why pick out uniforms in particular?

"we don't have to play the same games" - except in PE
"we don't have to do things just because others tell us to do them" - except if a teacher asks you to do something
"we have to think for themselves and decide what we'd like to do" - except if you're in a lesson where you're given a specific task


thermalsinapril Thu 02-May-13 18:46:26

I think uniforms help to promote individuality of thought. If clothes aren't being used as the default of "self expression" then there's comparitively more emphasis on opinions, debate, writing, speaking, creating.

Think about MN - we can't see each other, we don't know what any of us are wearing, and we're all basically the same font on the same colour screen. But we use our minds and there's so much that's good about MN Talk. I think some of this would be lost if we could see what everyone else looks like.

IWishIWasSheRa Thu 02-May-13 19:01:51

My old sociology teacher used to say if we suddenly adopted boater hats as part of our uniform, the school would be oversubscribed at the next intake.!

twilight3 Thu 02-May-13 19:05:24

thermal, I did not pick out uniforms. I merely pointed out that it was a very confusing lesson.
I disagree that uniforms promote anything, it's a leftover from other times, just like august holidays, half terms, obsession with exam results etc. But none of these things bother me enough for me to do anything. I do sometimes have complaints about the uniform being uncomfortable but I give a sympathy talk and they soon forget it. The TAs get mostly annoyed as they have to help all the kids in reception and some in Y1 get changed, as the policy won't allow for polo shirts.

There are countries where uniforms are banned and the kids still excel (or not) in every aspect, just like they do in Britain.

Haberdashery Thu 02-May-13 19:34:39

I tell you what I wish. I wish there was more choice. It seems to me that those who like uniforms are amply catered for in every degree all the way from sweatshirt and whatever down to blazers and boaters and logoed socks. But there are very few schools left without uniform and I think we are poorer for the fact that those who find non-uniform chiming better with their ideals and beliefs are often unable to choose it. There is room for all kinds of people in our society, and that's a good thing. There is a current push for all schools to have smart uniforms and I don't think it's really doing us any favours. There ought to be room in our system for uniform and non-uniform schools just like faith and non-faith or whatever.

LazarussLozenge Thu 02-May-13 19:51:05

Don't worry about the kids expressing 'individualism' if in a uniform.

You'd be amazed at the wide array of modifications you can carry out to ANY uniform to make it it 'yours'.

I remember from my own school days it was vogue to tie the wrong way around and tuck the loose end away. This made a very thin tie, the smaller the knot the better.

An extension of this was making the actual tie as short as possible too, ether end.

There we have 4 variations (not counting tie lengths in between) just on the tie!

Shoes and Socks were the other 'variable', as were trousers (turn ups or not?)

Nothing wrong with enforcing the discipline of maintaining ones clothing. I would even be so bold as to suggest parents get the little darlings to iron their own uniforms.

Work out how much it may cost over a year, and if they don't trash their uniform give them the surplus cash. A good life lesson if ever there was one... look after your kit.

Include the cost of stationary in it too.

LazarussLozenge Thu 02-May-13 20:09:00


Schools without uniform generally turn in to fashion parades. With children who can't afford to wear a different ensemble everyday made to feel a little worthless.

remembering that school uniform rarely goes out of fashion, so a 'thrift shop' or simlar reuse scheme could be established for blazers and other items (even passing on to a sibling), according to Asda you could kt out your child for the year for about the price of a fashionable outfit (footwear, socks, trousers and tops for both uniform and no-uniform).

Even throwing in school scarfs, coats, boaters/headwear, blazers and sports kit is not going to break the bank.

Man Utd Football kit for junior - £30 for the shirt.

A Generic strip would cost about that for the whole thing (less protectve pads and foot wear.

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 20:23:56

Here it is Hully (via fishandmonkey's link)

[Addendum 2007: Subsequently, a large study, using National Educational Longitudinal Study data, found that uniforms provided absolutely no benefit, either academically or with respect to such variables as absenteeism, behavior, or drug use. See David L. Brunsma and Kerry A. Rockquemore’s report, which appeared in the Sept.-Oct. 1998 issue of the Journal of Educational Research – volume 92, no. 1, pages 53-62. A local investigation by The Tennessean (published in March 2007) likewise found no difference in suspension or attendance rates between Nashville-area schools with and without uniform policies. Its reporters checked in with Professor Brunsma, who said it remained the case that not a single controlled study has supported the use of uniforms.]

Haberdashery Thu 02-May-13 20:25:57

>> Schools without uniform generally turn in to fashion parades. With children who can't afford to wear a different ensemble everyday made to feel a little worthless.

I haven't found that to be the case, either as a parent or a child. Have you been to a non-uniform school or sent your children to one?

HamletsSister Thu 02-May-13 20:29:08

No real sign of one puma ship with clothes when my school had no uniform. In fact, they all dressed very much the same: jeans / trackies, hoodie, t shirt. Very few high fashion items, most wore trousers and very few skirts. Oddly, there became a"uniform" but no one stressed about it.

HamletsSister Thu 02-May-13 20:29:54

One puma ship????? Oneupmanship ....although puma is a label they might wear so.....

Hulababy Thu 02-May-13 20:30:11

Honestly - the whole uniform stifles individuality type claims - nonsense!

Ask any teacher and they will tell you that uniform does nothing at all to stifle a child's individuality at any age.

If it did then all children at schools with uniforms with have smart, identical robots for children who never stood up for themselves, who never caused an ounce of trouble, who never broke a rule.....

Hmmm....can't see that happening really?!

TheRealFellatio Thu 02-May-13 20:32:13

Haven't read the thread Hully, but the first thing that popped into my head was this: Correlation? Yes. I am sure there will be tons and tons. Causation? No. And that's the thing that matters.

Hulababy Thu 02-May-13 20:32:35

Lots of our local non uniform schools have many labels thrown around - hoards of Hollister for one. And as for girl's shorts and skirts in the summer - hmm, some of those are so short they are indecent! Not really appropriate for school imo.

I have no real issue tbh though. I personally prefer uniform, both as a parent and as a (ex) teacher. But if others want non uniform then so be it. But don't make silly claims about the whole individuality issue please!

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 20:36:03

So dressing hundreds of children up to wear the same close is enhancing their individuality? If ever there's a silly claim, that's one of them.

LazarussLozenge Thu 02-May-13 20:37:03

If the girls are wearing short skirts (apart from again proving individuality may be expressed in a uniform) surely the school should enforce their dress policy.

My Mrs went to a private school wear they (daily) checked skirt length.

Possibly due to its proximity to a boys school and shared playing fields...

RedHelenB Thu 02-May-13 20:39:25

The senior school that my dd's attend said there exam results improved significantly when they swapped blazers & ties for polo shirts & relaxed things re jewellery/make up, probably cos staff weren't having to say where's your tie, take your make up off etc.

hackmum Thu 02-May-13 20:50:00

Haven't read the whole thread, sorry, but in most European countries they don't wear uniform and many of those countries have better educational performance than we do. Finland, which is near the top of the PISA table, doesn't have uniforms.

I don't have anything against uniforms - I quite like them. But not because they improve academic performance. In fact, my heart sinks when a new head joins a school and the first thing they do is enforce a smarter uniform. (This happened at a local comp recently - there were so many places the head could have focused her efforts, such as the crap teaching and the random acts of violence, but no, she decided to concentrate on changing the uniform.)

morethanpotatoprints Thu 02-May-13 20:54:18

I don't know about proven correlation, I have experience of no school uniform and the differences.
My dd is H.ed but used to go to school, at first she loved being without uniform as you would. One day she came downstairs in a shirt, tie and trousers and said it was her new school uniform.
There could be many reasons why, but this was the point she announced what subjects she wanted to study and took charge of her own learning. The uniform lasted for about a month, but she is still taking control.

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 20:58:33

I think students should orchestrate uniform strikes. Seriously what would they do if they all turned up in their home clothes and refused to wear uniform? I feel a streak of rebellion coming on.

usualsuspect Thu 02-May-13 21:06:22

I hate school uniform,and think the wearing of business suits at 6th form bizarre tbh.

We had none of that around here, thank fuck.

ravenAK Thu 02-May-13 21:09:18

I don't find that dressing like a goth impedes my performance at school.

...mind you, people expect English teachers to be a bit odd.

LazarussLozenge Thu 02-May-13 21:12:20

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 20:58:33

I think students should orchestrate uniform strikes. Seriously what would they do if they all turned up in their home clothes and refused to wear uniform? I feel a streak of rebellion coming on.

What would they do?

If it were I, then I'd suspend the lot until they toed the line.

If the students don't like uniform, they should approach their head via whatever leadership ladder is in place.

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 02-May-13 21:53:41

If parents like the idea of dressing their children in polyester then IMO they shouldnt be prevented from doing this. However, state schools should not enforce this. It should in no way be part of the head teacher's remit to dictate the clothing of the students.

The uniform at my DC's school is wholly inappropriate for a day's schooling. The blazer is polyester, white shirts attract the dirt, dust, ink and paint of the school day. The tie is clip on so doesnt even have the limited merit of teaching students how to tie a tie. The prescribed shoes are suitable only for office wear not for the walk to, from and around school plus art and technology classes.

As for business suits in the 6th form, my DD's opinion on this? It is so that the school can impersonate the local private schools.

Mum2Luke Thu 02-May-13 22:14:17

I prefer schools having a uniform, its there, you don't have to think of what to wear each day and it looks smart. Yes it does cost but do so new clothes every so often, I know, my secondary school had no uniform when I was there and it was a pain trying to find suitable clothing everyday, a few years after I left and a new Head was
appointed, a uniform was bought in and it looks very smart.

Why can't kids get used to wearing a uniform, they have to wear one for work one day.

ryanboy Thu 02-May-13 22:16:16

I find all these parents who think their child is too good/individual/special/ to wear a uniform really really tiresome.

usualsuspect Thu 02-May-13 22:21:13

I didn't want my children to look smart.

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 22:24:40

I don't think anyone's said that. If you were a child would you want to wear it? Perhaps we should leave it up to the children.

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 22:24:57

^that was @ ryanboy

seeker Thu 02-May-13 22:26:53

Or we should just think "it's a sweatshirt and trousers/a skirt- glad I don't have to think any more about that- let's move on to more important things"

It's not a big deal, people!

seeker Thu 02-May-13 22:28:40

Left to herself, dd would have gone to school dressed as a particularly low rent prostitute for the first two years of her school life. (She was a skilled charity shop trawler at 3.)

usualsuspect Thu 02-May-13 22:30:47

It is a big deal when it costs a bloody fortune for a crappy sweatshirt with the school logo on.

Trill Thu 02-May-13 22:32:44

I think there would be too many confounding factors.

Introducing a uniform or removing a uniform would correspond with a change in management, and other aspects of how the school was run would change at the same time.

TheBuskersDog Thu 02-May-13 22:33:40

At least if we have a heatwave when my son is sitting his GCSEs later in the month he'll be comfortable in his cotton t-shirt and shorts, rather than having to wear a buttoned up shirt and tie with long trousers.grin

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 22:37:41

It is a big deal to go out and buy a whole extra set of clothes, including shoes, that your children don't really like wearing and make them either sweat or shiver with cold.

LazarussLozenge Thu 02-May-13 22:46:24

Sweat or shiver with cold.... really

LazarussLozenge Thu 02-May-13 22:49:00

'wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 22:24:40

I don't think anyone's said that. If you were a child would you want to wear it? Perhaps we should leave it up to the children.'

Or perhaps they can do as they are told.

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 02-May-13 22:54:27

Having had experience of DCs going to non-uniform school I can report that there were no problems in getting them dressed for school. I fail to understand why there should be a problem. Countries such as the Netherlands are not full of children who have failed to dress for school.

Students learn complex mathematical concepts in a few weeks. Why does it take 11 years of school to learn to wear a uniform for work (assuming that their work requires a uniform, most dont)?

Successful uniforms are generally suitable workwear (think military uniforms, many warehouse type uniforms, medical uniforms). Lots and lots of time and effort goes into making these uniforms the most appropriate clothing for the job.

What ghastly occupation is the polyester blazer the most appropriate clothing for? Nobody other than a yacht club commodore wears a blazer of any fabric for work.

There are no good arguments for school uniform which stand up to any sort of scrutiny.

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 02-May-13 22:56:09

Or perhaps they can do as they are told.


wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 22:56:53

Nobody other than a yacht club commodore wears a blazer of any fabric for work. grin

My daughter looks like an awkward waitress. sad

goodasgold Thu 02-May-13 23:00:18

I haven't read all 11 pages but the Germans, Americans and Swiss do not have school uniform.

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 02-May-13 23:04:29

wonderingagain - this is the problem, what is the point in your DD dressing like a waitress unless she is a waitress (though proper waitress uniforms tend to be more practical!)

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 23:28:21

I know worry it's horrible. Black polyester with shoulderpads on a beautiful frecklyfaced 11 year old angel.

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 02-May-13 23:29:02

eh it's not entirely true re: American schools. They didn't have them when I went to school there, but from reports from friends back there, many schools have moved to a dress code system which is essentially a uniform. Khaki trousers or skirts, and polo shirts of specific colours. For example. (These reports will differ by state and by county, so make of it what you will. More school districts seem to be experimenting with it, anyway)

I went to Catholic school in the US until my second year of high school, and the cost was ridiculous. 50 USD per skirt, for example, because the schools would all have contracts with just one uniform company, and you were required to own precisely the same plaid, pleats done the exact specified way. It was madness, and very expensive. (50 USD in the late 80s/ early 90s btw- who knows how much it costs now!)

I've just purchased most of DS's first lot of uniforms for his reception year in Sept, and it was about a tenner. The school runs regular secondhand sales, and it definitely seems the way forward for certain bits (fleece bobbles, but the trousers and skirts looked practically new. Same with polo shirts and PE tshirts). I think shoes will be out biggest outgoing, if the rumours are correct that they need outdoor shoes, indoor shoes, AND PE shoes. hmm Looking forward to that.

I did both uniforms and no uniforms in my school career. Uniforms gave us something to 'rebel' against (seem to recall everyone trying to get away with wearing t-shirts under dress shirts, or leggings under skirts). No uniforms meant I had to have a massive wardrobe. As a student, I think I preferred uniforms. All the stuff about pride in school though, I don't get that at all. smile I think at the end of the day, I liked the uniform because I didn't have to worry over what I was wearing or was it trendy enough.

wonderingagain Thu 02-May-13 23:56:06

This is what's happening in America (Brooklyn NYC) - look under 'School Life' and it seems that quite a lot of schools are opting for specific items of clothes to be worn, or a uniform.

thebody Fri 03-May-13 00:01:24

Totally what worried says.

They are vile. My kids look so much better in 'normal clothes'.

drfayray Fri 03-May-13 02:46:22

Here in Queensland, the uniforms, particularly the private schools, are so old fashioned. The girls wear drop waisted frocks often in plaid and hats. Boys, even in grade 12 (so about 17) wear shorts with long socks.

My son goes to a state high school in Brisbane which just might be the only one without a school uniform. They have a dress code though. Kids look like young adults and are treated thus. Some parents I know think that the kids will not do so well shock because they are wearing their own clothes...Well this school has a Nobel prize laureate who comes back to the school to talk to the children. And often tops the state in the OPs. (Similar to A levels here). Also innovative in that they have a Spanish Immersion programme from grades 8-10. DS17 is now fluent in Spanish. There is a school polo shirt which is worn for sport or on open days but with jeans. The children look like children; shorts and tee shirts or jeans and jumpers. Which is a sort of uniform anyway.

DD goes to a private school (for a variety of reasons) and her uniform is based on a nun's habit. Navy drop waisted dress with a LARGE white removable collar and a white hat. She hates it grin. But her school also performs well.

I think no correlation at all.

nooka Fri 03-May-13 03:05:27

None of our local schools have uniforms, in fact it's seen as a very weird and old fashioned 'British' thing to do (we live in Canada). Children here seem to have as much or as little pride in their schools as I remember from the UK, and in general Canadian schools perform very well. The dress code is very limited, no strappy tops, no gang colours and no swear words.

The only conversation I've had with my children about their clothes for school was to tell ds that he needed a new hoody/trousers when his were getting worn out, and we have yet to have any conversation with a teacher about clothes.

Kids here generally wear jeans and t-shirts/hoodies to school. Sure sometimes there are issues about bullying, but at least you get picked on for wearing clothes you've chosen to wear rather than those forced on you. I certainly felt picked on when I was at school in a uniform as the teachers were always going on about me looking scruffy. I thought that was a bit rich considering I was scruffy because the uniform fitted me very badly (and was fully polyester and really ugly) whereas they looked scruffy because they chose to (no dress code for them of course, just for us grunts, which rather put paid to the getting ready for work gumpf).

piprabbit Fri 03-May-13 03:36:46

I went to primary schools which did not have uniforms.
The sheer bliss of starting at secondary school, having a uniform and not having to worry about getting it wrong any more. OK, so as it turned out there were still little details that could be got wrong, but I never stood out as as being weirdly dressed. It was very important for me at the time not to stand out more than was unavoidable, I don't really care now I'm an adult, but then I was being bullied for everything so it was lovely not to be bullied about my clothes any more.

SoupDragon Fri 03-May-13 07:19:28

There are no good arguments for school uniform which stand up to any sort of scrutiny.

There are no good arguments either way that stand up to any sort of scrutiny.

SoupDragon Fri 03-May-13 07:22:29

So dressing hundreds of children up to wear the same close is enhancing their individuality? If ever there's a silly claim, that's one of them.

I don't think anyone claimed it enhanced their individuality. Saying that uniform doesn't stifle individuality is not the same thing.

chrome100 Fri 03-May-13 07:27:54

I'd love to get up every morning and put on a grey skirt, a polo shirt and a logo jumper for work every day. I hate choosing what to wear to work and can't be arsed. Sometimes I miss that aspect of school.

I don't really express my individuality through clothing; that's what my personality is for.

seeker Fri 03-May-13 07:46:37

"I think students should orchestrate uniform strikes. Seriously what would they do if they all turned up in their home clothes and refused to wear uniform? I feel a streak of rebellion coming on."

And this would enhance their education exactly how?

TheBuskersDog Fri 03-May-13 07:55:32

Sorry OP the thread has turned into a general argument about uniform v non-uniform, however as I have said before on these threads the arguments against non- uniform never seem to be from parents with children at a non-uniform school.
The arguments about what it's like on mufti days, well that's because it's not the norm, or talking about it been like a fashion show- no they just wear the normal clothes they wear during the day on weekends or holidays. If anything because they don't have limited times to show off what they look like when not in uniform they are more relaxed about their image.
My son will probably put on jeans/shorts, t-shirt, hoodie and hi-tops this morning, his mates will be similarly attired and none of them will bat an eyelid. OK if you have new trainers or an amusing (but none offensive) t-shirt you might get some comments but that's it. In fact we have had times when my son has not wanted to wear his new trainers to school because he doesn't want people to think he is spoilt for having another new pair! Also his t-shirts are a mix of more expensive brand ones and £2.50 Primark plain ones, both get worn equally as often.

NewFerry Fri 03-May-13 07:56:45

The secondary school my DC attend has a strict uniform policy, maroon blazers, shirt and tie, grey trousers (boys) /grey uniform style skirt (girls)

The sixth formers switch to a black and grey uniform, (the girls still have a uniform skirt), which looks v smart.

Given that the policy is strictly enforced & that the sixth are looked up to particularly by the younger students, and the 6th formers have positions of responsibility within the school, I feel it is appropriate that they wear a uniform. To turn up each day in jeans would just look odd, and sort of disrespectful to the rest of the school community.
(Sorry that's quite clumsy wording, but I'm struggling to find the correct words)

However, I appreciate that in a school with a more relaxed uniform eg, polo shirt, jumper and everyone in trousers, then it wouldn't look so out of place to have the 6th formers in their own clothes.

Also, in fairness, the teachers always look smart too!

TheBuskersDog Fri 03-May-13 08:03:27

Oh and to contribute to the original question it is an outstanding school, best results in the city and one of the highest achieving state schools at A-level in the country, lots of kids going to Oxbridge etc., and the pupils are very proud of their school.

I'm sure this has nothing to do with the lack of uniform but they manage to do this without a uniform.

ivykaty44 Fri 03-May-13 08:18:22

Finland comes out best for education in the industrial world, but they don't use a school uniform to achieve this. Would there results be better if they made their school pupils wear a uniform?

seeker Fri 03-May-13 08:36:35

I'm not arguing for or against uniform- I have no strong views either way, but I can see benefits to both.

I just think it's not a big deal, unless it is used, as it sometimes is, as a method of back door selection. Or where it is obviously intended to allow moths to play out their "Madeline" fantasies.

All this stuff about stifling their individuality is just nonsense. Rather highlighted by the poster who said something along the lines of "I hate uniform- why can't they all just wear jeans"

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 08:42:34

I have issues with the whole nonsensical educational system anyway.

But my main bugbear with this, as I said way way up thread, is the ILLOGICALITY.

It's all so "because I say so."

SwishSwoshSwoosh Fri 03-May-13 08:53:02

I'm another one with a deep hatred of uniform. Have no problem with a dress code, e.g. no jeans.

I remember one stunningly inane conversation with a teacher over whether a child's shoes were dark enough brown to qualify. I say 'conversation' but my contribution was mostly just confused faces. Ignore,ignore, ignore!

I think uniform obsession is just more 'harking back' to the good old days.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Fri 03-May-13 08:54:05

Yes, 'because I say so' is a major feature of school sadly.

Erebus Fri 03-May-13 09:03:34

I doubt you'd ever find conclusive evidence in favour of or against the wearing of uniform.

There'd always be so many other factors at work it'd be impossible to find a direct link between one and the other. You'd have to consider context above all:
-Social economic background
-Local societal expectation
-Academic attainment upon entering the school
-Ethnic mix or lack of in the school and area
-Existence of other local uniform signifiers (e.g. gang uniform)

etc etc

Our local schools all wear sweatshirt and polo uniforms, primary and secondary. 90% of parents of working parents work in professional jobs where professional uniform (shirt/tie/suit/HCP uniform etc) are the norm. We are all people who have largely toed MC societal lines and have thereby reaped the benefits, therefore I don't think any of us bat an eyelid at our DC wearing school uniform, though we're glad they're not wearing the blazers ties and boaters of some of our childhoods!

Our DCs 'express their individuality' through their personalities, not their pink hair and piercings! Not at 15, anyway.

wonderingagain Fri 03-May-13 09:12:07

Yes Hully, it is illogical. It only exists as a hangover from the past when children were lucky to get an education and conformity was an essential part of any group.

That's why it is illogical now because (mainstream) teaching and learning has become so much more than putting children through the sausage factory, it is about encouraging them to be the best they can be as individuals.

Uniform is illogical because does not represent the ethos of modern school life. And there's no research to back up any benefits to uniform.

ryanboy Fri 03-May-13 09:15:49

OK advantages of uniform
1 prevents distinction between rich and poor children on dress.
2 Identification of which school they go to which is actually a very important safety consideration when they go on a trip with children of different schools
3 Teaches children conformity (everybody has to learn to conform in some ways)some rules )
4 Promotes a sense of group identity
5 It looks so much smarter when you see children 'en masse'
6 Probably most importantly gives teenagers a safe thing to rebel against

ryanboy Fri 03-May-13 09:18:38

I do NOT agree with secondary uniforms being polo shirts and sweatshirts which have very strong connotations of crap jobs

thermalsinapril Fri 03-May-13 09:32:06

"I don't really express my individuality through clothing; that's what my personality is for."

chrome100 that's a fantastic sentence, you've got it in one! smile

thermalsinapril Fri 03-May-13 09:35:59

So which of us here had a school uniform? I did.

Do we still have opinions, personality, individuality?

hackmum Fri 03-May-13 09:38:30

I like school uniform for entirely pragmatic reasons. (I don't believe it raises academic performance, which seems an entirely nonsensical performance - I mean, why would it? Improving the quality of the teaching is the main thing that raises academic performance.)

I like it a) because it saves me having an argument every day on the lines of "No, I haven't washed your black leggings," "No, you can't go out looking like that," "Yes, that top does work with those shoes" etc.

b) because it allows me to identify children from other schools in the shops and make sweeping judgement on the lines of "It's those dreadful children from St Swithin's Academy again."

ryanboy Fri 03-May-13 09:41:37

'"I don't really express my individuality through clothing; that's what my personality is for."

^ This exactly^

SoupDragon Fri 03-May-13 10:27:40

there's no research to back up any benefits to uniform.

There's no research to back up any detrimental effects either.

wonderingagain Fri 03-May-13 10:34:10

What is it with you keeping quoting me soupdragon? If you disagree just state your case.

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 11:25:51

How do all the countries without uniform manage ryanboy?

Are they always losing all the children on school trips?

And plenty of people have said you can always tell the poor kids no matter what.

Haberdashery Fri 03-May-13 11:36:40

The school trips thing is funny. Our school used to have no uniform and now has navy and grey. Younger children used to wear sleeveless hi-vis jackets (very light thin material, fluorescent yellow, unmissable) on school trips and several TAs and teachers have commented to me that it was much easier to keep track of them like that.

ivykaty44 Fri 03-May-13 11:44:04

so ryanboy due to my dd's secondary school picking sweat tops and polo shirts for uniform that will define her job choice?

What evidence is there to back up this statement?
I do NOT agree with secondary uniforms being polo shirts and sweatshirts which have very strong connotations of crap jobs

SoupDragon Fri 03-May-13 11:46:16

What is it with you keeping quoting me soupdragon? If you disagree just state your case.

Did someone put you in charge of how people use the boards?

I was responding directly to something you said. Quoting avoids confusion.

How about you tell off all the other people who quote other posters?

SoupDragon Fri 03-May-13 11:51:23

1) I've quoted other people too
2) You've quoted people

So I fail to see your point really.

SoupDragon Fri 03-May-13 11:52:10

and 3. Other people have quoted you.

ivykaty44 Fri 03-May-13 11:58:22

there is research that shows a detrimental effect to uniform in junior and infant school - the cost of the uniform meaning that children from lower income families are put of applying and therefore the more expensive the uniform the less lower income families will go to the school. I see that as a detrimental effect of having a uniform - as if all the children wore there own clothing then the school would not be able to exclude low income children.

seeker Fri 03-May-13 12:14:48

grin at all these primary school children expressing their individuality through clothes. I bet they express their individuality by not lining up with the others, and being called Aelred too.

seeker Fri 03-May-13 12:17:33

Oh, and I bet they aren't hidebound by tradition by saying please, thank you and excuse me either.

ToysRLuv Fri 03-May-13 12:48:37

from Finland (where most European authorities come to learn about good education), and we never had uniforms. Never will, either. Top in European results in many things.

I fondly remember having a (hip hop fashiony) keychain so long that it would get caught on the chairs and I would drag them along every time I got up. Still did very well at school.

Never remember there being an issue about anyone's clothes being deemed inappropriate. Some of the uniformy things worn here (short skirts without stockings) would have maybe be seen as slightly raunchy in a sea of jeans and jumpers in Finland.

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 13:02:59

Re the individuality thing:

I don't get why "individuality" has become pejorative when applied to schools. Being who you are has nothing to do with ability to learn or good manners.

Mostly we encourage children to respect others "individuality" be they skinny, fat, ginger-haired, gay, black, white, hetero-normative etc etc

Why on earth does being who you are (ie an "individual") equate to bad behaviour, or another fave MN word "entitlement."

One of the things Britain is most admired for is the tolerance of individuality and eccentricity, it is the reason for the success of our creative industries.

Why on earth is it important that in places of learning and exploring and discovering and trying (and exam factory-ness) that everyone looks the same?

It's just weird.

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 13:04:30

And why, when every argument in favour of uniform, is disproved, does it change to: "Well, I think there are more important things to worry about in schools"


wonderingagain Fri 03-May-13 13:20:08

Somebody save me from the soupdragon!

wonderingagain Fri 03-May-13 13:21:57

Some of the uniformy things worn here (short skirts without stockings) would have maybe be seen as slightly raunchy in a sea of jeans and jumpers in Finland.

And every school I see in the UK that doesn't have uniforms they also end up in jeans and jumpers.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 03-May-13 13:30:51

seeker grin

They are the kind of child who whacks others over the head with toys at toddlers and the parent watches dotingly and comments on how expressive they are.

By all means object to uniform on the grounds of cost, or poor quality, or hideousness, but all this guff about it stifling children's personalities is a load of pretentious bollocks.

boxershorts Fri 03-May-13 13:51:40

UNIFORM is a discipline aid. Not educational

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 13:51:52

In your opinion, Alibaba

Which doesn't appear to have any facts or evidence to substantiate it.

seeker Fri 03-May-13 13:53:54

"Why on earth does being who you are (ie an "individual") equate to bad behaviour, or another fave MN word "entitlement."

It doesn't. Or it shoulcn't. Individuality is wonderful.But never yet met a parent who talks about school uniform dehumanising, or stifling individuality who didn't also think their child has a perfect right to ride their scooter head down at full tilt down a crowded pavement.

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 13:55:25

I have met loads.

And lots of others are on this thread.

I think it dangerous to extrapolate from a few you have met and build an argument upon it.

boxershorts Fri 03-May-13 14:02:16

well uniform is meant to stop children comparing clothes; which they would naturally do. (Especially girls)

boxershorts Fri 03-May-13 14:04:14

diverting a little. Fortunes must have been made out of uniforms in recent years

Schooldidi Fri 03-May-13 14:26:37

I've worked in 4 schools, all with sixth forms. Only one of those schools had no dress code at all for the sixth form, all had uniform for younger yeargroups so I can't comment on the effectiveness there.

The one school with no dress code did have some issues caused by inappropriate dress, mainly with the girls. Some girls did come to school in very short skirts/shorts, or very low cut tops. It distracted me, and I'm not a hormonal teenage boy. I don't think the high achievers were affected, they were focused anyway and always seemed to be wearing jeans and t shirts. The students who did seem to be affected by the clothing choices they/others were wearing were the ones who were quite easily distracted already. I'm not convinced they were all doing appropriate courses and I imagine that they would have found other things to be distracted by if they had a dress code.

I spent more time on discipline in the sixth form with no dress code than I ever did in any of the 3 schools with dress codes. That probably says more about the leadership and ethos of the school as a whole than it does about sixth form dress codes though.

So after that long post, I'm still rather undecided on whether I think uniform/dress codes are good or bad. I probably wouldn't introduce it in a school/sixth form that is already working well, but in a school where teachers are finding that students are becoming distracted by a minority wearing inappropriate clothing then you would have to introduce a dress code in order to be able to pull up the ones wearing the inappropriate clothes.

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 14:36:22

Yes, dress code of course. Appropriate clothing is just that: appropriate. Like no topless men in pubs <shudder>

But there is a world of difference between a dress code governing appropriate dress and shoehorning everyone into trainee estate agent polyester.

TheRealFellatio Fri 03-May-13 14:45:10

Almost all kids will go out of their way to wear their uniform as badly as possible. If a uniform is worn properly it looks smart and attractive, but it almost never is worn properly and it ends up like a dog's dinner of rolled up skirts, black trainers masquerading as proper shoes, stupid, fat, loose ties that are barely tied at all, hair on boys is always to short or too long, while hair on girls can be any length, but then they'll battle over hair colour instead, or make-up, etc, etc.

What's the point? It's just one more unnecessary thing to battle with teenagers over to try to maintain some kind of control/authority over them - and to what end? What do they lean from it that is over any use? confused

If you let them wear what they wanted and didn't bat an eyelid it would almost immediately remove one form of rebellion at their disposal, which can only be a good thing. grin

lisson Fri 03-May-13 14:51:33

Removing a school uniform that is worn properly requirement would remove one focus for teenage rebellion and leave the field open for the young person to push the boundaries elsewhere.

Another reason to keep it.

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 14:54:53

Who are these weird boundary-pushing kids?

The teenagers I know are nice normal young adults who respond eagerly to being consulted and respected in the same way we expect it from them. You get a lot further with negotiation than authoritarianism.

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 14:56:10

The whole "teen rebellion" thing is a hangover from the fifties when adults were adults and kids didn't count and were to be repressed and squashed until they reached 18 when they could repress and squash their own children.

Who on earth wants ot live like that?

lisson Fri 03-May-13 14:59:52

I think Hully, that we should agree to differ. Most teenagers I know now and knew when I was one myself were boundary pushing. You don't apparently. But I suspect that its a question of perspective rather than an absolute.

The funny thing is, its almost like you are still trying to push the boundaries with this whole thread! (no offence BTW)

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 15:00:51

What boundaries am I trying to push?

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 15:03:31

I am discussing ideas, why do you see that as boundary-pushing?

I think a lot of people parrot received ideas eg

Uniform = good
conformity = necessary
teenagers= dangerous and rebellious etc

without really thinking about the ideas, about whether they really think them, or why they do. And nor do they want to, it's much easier not to question and to call those that do "boundary pushers"

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 15:04:16

And a heads-up:

If you feel the need to write "no offense"

You can guarantee there will be.

lisson Fri 03-May-13 15:09:37

I know that Hully... my husband starts sentences "With respect.." or worse "with the greatest respect" and he doesn't have to say another word because I already know he is trying to annoy me.

But in this case, i really didn't want to upset you.

Why do I think you are boundary pushing? Because you are clearly not happy with the status quo and because you keep dismissing reasonable explanations from those who don't agree with you. If I said that people who have had their 80th birthday are generally considered old, but it didn't suit your point of view, then you'd say that none of the 81 year olds you've ever met have even remotely passed their middle years!

Lio Fri 03-May-13 15:13:01

Just marking my place as I'm interested in this too, so thanks OP.

flatpackhamster Fri 03-May-13 15:21:45


I am discussing ideas, why do you see that as boundary-pushing?

I don't think you're "discussing ideas". From the outset your posts seemed to be "I think this, who agrees with me? Great. Let's talk about why we're right."

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 15:26:57

How odd you see it that way.

There are pages and pages of people saying why they think uniforms are a good thing, but every reason given is disproved.

There is noevidence to support the benefits of uniform in any year, let alone 6th form. That is simply factual not a pov.

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 15:27:28

And if you doubt me, go back and read all the research data posted.

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 15:28:40

lisson - I don't think they are reasonable explanations. That is why I don't agree with them. All of the reasons given are fallacious, and provably so.

And no worries I'm not upset.

LazarussLozenge Fri 03-May-13 15:52:24

Someone brushed on this above.

Obviously if the child is allowed to wear whatever they wish, there is the chance of clashes with parents over their dress.

IIRC Bjork once turned up to high school in her quilt with a head hole cut in it.

But more importantly it actually means the child will be able to concentrate on more important things (such as schoolwork) instead of what to wear.

Such decisions, and potential ridicule, make large parts of some kids lives.

Take the problem away, by enforcing a dress code. If polyester clothing is such a problem, the school could be requested to change to a higher standard of clothing.

Especially if hte school could be encouraged to set up a 'shop' and attract a bulk buy discount, esp if staffed by volunteers and merged with a thrift shop style 'pre-loved' school uniform emporium.

usualsuspect Fri 03-May-13 15:57:37

Anyone who thinks that wearing school uniform prevents the distinction between rich and poor is deluded.

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 16:02:09


SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 03-May-13 16:12:07

As an American, I do not like school uniform, even the "uniform-light" version that is often adopted when a school district in the US decides to adopt a uniform (which according to Mr. Google, is around 18-20 percent at present).

It is more like a very restricted dress code rather than a uniform: solid colored trousers, shorts, or skirts, usually a choice between khaki and dark blue (unembellished jeans often allowed); solid color polo shirts in white, blue, or another color designated by each school (small brand logos sometimes allowed); liberal policy on shoes.

DS attended a school for two years with a dress code like this; except for the days when he wore jeans, he looked like a wee golfer headed to the links. The problem I have with it is that it is so relentlessly preppie middle class American (and I like golf, by the way).

Schools should foster individuality, respect for all cultures, and independent thinking. Clothing is a cultural choice (even a political one) and I think schools should allow those choices within reason.

usualsuspect Fri 03-May-13 16:12:48

Dress code fine, uniform not fine.

LaQueen Fri 03-May-13 16:15:07

I went to a Steiner school, where there is never any uniform, as they want children to be as individual as possible.

Except of course there was to a large extent. Everyone, and I mean everyone from the age of 10 upwards, wore certain jeans, and certain trainers, and there was a huge craze for wearing men's suit jackets with the cuffs rolled up hmm

We all looked pretty similar.

Quite a few years back, standards at our local girls' grammar school had really slipped, thanks to a rubbish HT. In particular girls were really taking the pish with the uniform, but GCSE passes were waaaaay down from its usual 100% pass rate, grades A*-C.

Eventually, the rubbish HT resigned. And, a new HT started. First day of terms, he stood at school gates, and sent home every girl not wearing correct uniform. And, he did it on the second and third days, too.

Parents were hugely relieved, that finally something was being done. Uniform has been strictly enforced ever since - to the extent that girls aren't allowed to remove their blazers, without a directive from the HT.

By the end of that school year, GCSE were back up where they'd always been.

LaQueen Fri 03-May-13 16:16:38

Also, at my Steiner school, my Mum desperately wished we did have uniform. Because, she reckoned it actually cost more to keep me outfitted in new jeans, sweat shirts, shoes, t-shirts...than it would have done to just buy uniform.

usualsuspect Fri 03-May-13 16:18:05

I don't believe wearing a uniform makes a student work harder. Especially at 6th form level.

After all you don't wear uniform at university do you.

Bonsoir Fri 03-May-13 16:19:28

My DD's (Parisian) school has a dress code - all clothes must be solid navy, white or grey. Coats must be navy. Shoes, socks, scarves and gloves may be any colour.

I find it restrictive, but not intolerably so. It certainly gives enough room that children can dress to suit their own morphology and tastes.

cornypringle Fri 03-May-13 16:21:09

bonsoir I like that idea.

giveitago Fri 03-May-13 16:22:52

Oh ds goes to a school where no uniform at infants. Has been hugely expensive for me. Can't wait for a uniform to kick in.

usualsuspect Fri 03-May-13 16:23:57

I had to buy my kids uniform and normal clothes. I would rather have spent the money I had to spend on crappy sweatshirts etc on clothes they actually liked.

Bonsoir Fri 03-May-13 16:25:43

cornypringle - it certainly is quite consensus-building. What I find useful is that you can shop for most of it at Gap/Benetton/Zara and buy reasonably fashionable cuts so that DCs can wear the same trousers and skirts outside school, and just vary the tops for more colour.

Haberdashery Fri 03-May-13 16:44:49

>> I had to buy my kids uniform and normal clothes. I would rather have spent the money I had to spend on crappy sweatshirts etc on clothes they actually liked.

Yes, this. I really resent having to spend money on clothes that are ugly, no more practical than normal clothes and which my daughter hates wearing. And yes, you can buy them super-cheaply, but you can buy normal clothes cheaply too and they tend to be more comfortable and attractive. I hate the ugliness aspect of it so much I got my sewing machine out when they started the uniform thing at her school and made DD a pinafore, skirt and two summer dresses that were actually nice to wear and fitted her and looked good. No such thing was available in any shop. And they cost a grand total of about a tenner for the fabric for the whole lot, good quality thick cotton twill for the skirt and pinafore and 100% cotton gingham for the dresses plus lining fabric so that the skirt and pinafore wouldn't stick to her tights. I also found nice plain grey cords in H&M for when she wants to wear trousers. No way am I buying that horrible teflon-coated rubbish they sell in the shops.

LazarussLozenge Fri 03-May-13 17:12:21

My Nanna used to knit my jumpers... they were awesome.

School Uniform is a good thng in most schools, I would take out Stieners for obvious reasons, but even in that example we see the kids forming a 'uniform' of sorts.

uniform, strict enforcement and finally cane the grades in to them.

ivykaty44 Fri 03-May-13 17:43:56

By the end of that school year, GCSE were back up where they'd always been.

so laqueen - did the new HT make no other changes in the school what so ever? Are you suggesting that for any school to get pupils to pass there gcse's they just need to stand at the gates of the school for three days and turn away pupils wearing uniform incorrectly?

As I think the new HT came to the school and made several changes and one change was the enforced school uniform and if you make several changes then how will you know if each change on its own would have had any impact on exam results

you need to just make the one change and see if that changes the results and if it does then you know the results

but usually a new head wouldn't start at a new school and for 12 whole months only make one sole change.

and for that reson I think your results are flawed

TheBuskersDog Fri 03-May-13 17:48:20

But LaQueen it was obviously getting rid of the rubbish head and bringing in a good one that brought about the improvement in results, not just that the school got stricter on uniform. Strong leadership is the issue not what the children are wearing.

Just wondering, why do so many schools not make sixth formers wear uniform, what is the reasoning behind that?

usualsuspect Fri 03-May-13 18:21:17

No 6th form I know of has a fact I had never heard of the wearing business suit thing at 6th form until I joined MN.

LaQueen Fri 03-May-13 18:22:18

Yes, of course Busker it would be impossible to quantify what effect the stricter uniform rules had, when so many other positive things were also being put in place.

LaQueen Fri 03-May-13 18:23:43

Business dress was required in the Sixth Form, at DH's grammar. And, it's also required at our local grammars.

But, don't know it, in any comprehensives?

LaQueen Fri 03-May-13 18:24:27

Ivy yes, I know. I wanted to post more, to say as much. But, had to nip out.

usualsuspect Fri 03-May-13 18:25:58

All comprehensive around here so maybe thats why I have never heard of it.

usualsuspect Fri 03-May-13 18:29:21

Although a lot of students opt for 6th form colleges and none of them have a uniform.

ivykaty44 Fri 03-May-13 18:31:32

I know of a grammer school wannabe comprehensive school that states business dress formers 6th formers.

I always wonder why they aren't called 12 and 13 years - why do they get reverted back to 6th formers - unlike 10 and 11 years which stay as that rather than being referred to as 5th formers

ivykaty44 Fri 03-May-13 18:35:52

Laqueen it would have been interesting if the new head had come in and not altered the uniform and carried out all the other changes and then seen whether the results improved - I wonder if they would have been better results due to just focusing on the other changes and giving teachers more time for those other changes rather than have to spend time on the uniform?

pointythings Fri 03-May-13 18:38:40

What I don't get is the 'it prepares them for the world of work' reasoning.


So we make them wear uniform from age four until age 18 (if they attend a uniform-wearing 6th form).
Then we send them off to university (many of them) where they wear whatever the heck they please. And then they tend to get jobs.

The question arises - are our children stupid enough that we need to spend 14 years teaching them that they need to adapt their clothing to their situation just so that they remember it through university?

Me, I'd favour not having uniform and letting them come a cropper for themselves. The moment they turn up for an interview in board shorts, flip flops and a string vest and don't get the job, they'll learn the lesson. No need to kit them out in ugly, uncomfortable, expensive clothes for a decade and a half. If we need to spoonfeed our kids something as simple as this, what hope is there for the future?

LaQueen Fri 03-May-13 18:38:51

Yes, that would have been interesting ivy - but, I guess we'll never know.

Although, I think the issues with uniform were pretty much 100% stamped out in that very first week.

Bullets Fri 03-May-13 19:53:30

Have to say, as an 80s/90s kid living on hand-me-downs and having to share clothes with my brothers (I'm female), I can remember feeling very very pleased we had a uniform thoughout primary school and the first couple of years of secondary school!!

My orange ginger never brushed hair, abundunce of freckles and enormous brightly coloured NHS glasses were enough ammunition for some pretty hurtful comments from both classmates and teachers, I dread to think what would have happened if I'd turned up in my weekend wear as well!

When I got to year 10 and started being into boys and more aware of what I wore, I got a job in a local hotel to earn enough money to buy my own clothes and I have worked hard ever since. Uniform may not have developed my individuality, but it gave me confidence and helped foster a great work ethic.

Seriously cannot believe people get so worked up about it! This thread has been a revelation to me!

usualsuspect Fri 03-May-13 20:03:24

My work ethic has nothing to do with wearing uniform.

I was the poor kid at school, you could still tell by my shabby uniform.

WorrySighWorrySigh Fri 03-May-13 20:12:02

Exactly pointythings, complex mathematical concepts are taught across a few weeks at a few hours a week. The wearing of cheap nasty polyester clothing? Takes a decade and a half of full-time effort.

seeker Fri 03-May-13 20:28:32

At my dd's very high achieving school, 6th formers are expected to own formal clothes, which they wear when representing the school in any way. But on a day to day basis they take pride in being as scruffy as possible. Doesn't seem to get into way of the A*s!

StopCollaberateAndListen Fri 03-May-13 21:05:23

This thread is pure comedy! Hullygully you are hilariously dimissive of any opinion that doesn't concur with yours. I almost admire you. Almost.

nooka Sat 04-May-13 01:18:55

One of the things I found particularly galling at school was the complete scruffiness of the teachers who were busy having a go at us girls for minor uniform infractions. If we were being forced into uniform as some sort of preparation for adult life then it was a total do as I say not as I do.

I never wanted to be a teacher, but clearly the wearing of uniform or even just smart business wear was not required in that particular career (or many others for that matter - the only job I have ever had when I had to wear a uniform was a poorly paid Christmas retail job).

Anyway I'm just glad I'm out of all the uniform rubbish. I would have found it very hard to back up the school if they had been contacting me to reinforce uniform rules and dh would have hit the roof (whereas we are totally and utterly supportive of any teacher action for behavior infractions)

Mimishimi Sat 04-May-13 02:00:27

The reception my son gets when he is wearing his normal school uniform vis-a-vis his sports uniform is very different. People treat him like he is smarter so perhaps it reinforces a link which is not necessarily intellectual but social. When he is in his sports uniform (pale blue polo, dark blue shorts , cap and black sports shoes he looks scruffy - obvioisly because he has been playing sports as well). When he is in his shirt, trousers or formal shorts, hat, socks pulled up to the knee, shiny leather shoes etc - he gives the appearance of looking studious even if he is making the same silly sounds, acting the goat etc. It also gives kids one less thing to worry about in the morning, which is especially important in their teen years when they can soend an inordinate amount of time thinking about their appearance.

nooka Sat 04-May-13 03:13:27

I have an almost teen and a teen. Neither of them spend more than a couple of minutes thinking about what to wear for school. We spent far more time worrying if they had clean uniform ready to wear than we do now they can wear what they like/is clean and in one piece.

In fact I just asked ds how much time he spends thinking about his clothes for school and he said 'almost nothing'. dd (who generally care about her appearance rather more than he does) said '2 seconds to 2 minutes'. Granted they may not be typical, but I don't think no uniform = clothes obsessed and uniform = clothes not an issue. My niece wears a classic uniform (shirt, tie, blazer etc) in the UK and apparently spends at least an hour just on her hair every morning.

mam29 Sat 04-May-13 03:40:40

when I was i primary logo stuff wasent really about.

I dont think school uniform was as cheap as it is now as supermarkets dident sell it had to go neraby big town for uniform shop m&s or bhs.

My nan used to egt right colour wool.

navy for mu cousins and me in senior year 7
royal blue for sisters infants
marroon for my junior was tricky colour to find.

i remeber school ties were only way to identify school and colour and cost around 4quid.
infants had elastic ties.

then in secondry we had to have logo.

fast forward to now.

none of primarys here seem to wear ties-health and asafety maybe but they were cheap way of instilling school identity.

dds1 old school head insisted on logo jumpers £10 or cardies 312 no supermarket stuff-they dident have logo pe shirts, fleeces or coats.
bookbag 3,logo pe bag £5.

shes since moved thankfully boottom part still grey,
white shirts or polos but find supermarley white polos shrink or stain easily.
so i purchased 2school logo ones 38 each which wash lovley.
ade freinds with pta uniform lady brought 4sweaters and fleece £2.50 each from 2nd hand pile normally £10 each new.

dd wants the coat but thats £17
pe shirt £5 which is reaosnable.

But they are allowed supermarket cardies
we moved november after october half term and was shocked how little uniform in shops

managed to get

1 M&S cardie £
1 george £5,
freind up north got me 2 sainsburys cardies 2 for £9 as neither of my big stores had them thourght they were cute as had frill at bottom.

dds class had bog plastic bo where they all pile in jumpers and cardies and so many kids have flipping sainsburys navy frill cadrie-theyn ot washed or worn well.
The iron on m&s labels been bit useless.
i put pen on inner label.

we have lost stuff lately named and cant find it in lost property.
reception say anything i lost property is fair game as someones robbed yours and if u can get it cheaper in supermarket all the better.

Everyone looks smart and in right colours at least.
one paret handed jumper to me today was shocked .

at old school as head said logo only and very few 2nd hand some patrets got quite angry and emotional. teachers dident seem to care

only have 1 in school so dare say when all 3 there i be spending endless hours of my life per year in lost property.

couple freinds primaries buy logo as pale blue polos and turquoise sweaters hard to find. mostly red or navy or royal blue.

i would hate to have purple or brown.
indeendent prep always lots as see it on john lewis website look expensive.

Local crap comp introduced blazers and tie they look better but they still crap.

Presonally think fine knit m&s v neck jumper and tie with shirt look far smarter than horrible logos sweater type which is fleece lines so horrid in summer and shrinks and dd2 proved with preschool jumper gets stained washes no better.

mam29 Sat 04-May-13 03:43:40

forgot to say my 6th form was non uniform and spent fortune on clothes.

when we looked round primaries one open day was summer and reception teacher had white see through trousers on and hubby couldent stop gawping some teachers dress scruffy or in appropriate.

seeker Sat 04-May-13 08:28:20

Mind you, my ds wears a uniform which means he gets elbowed into the road by other kids on a regular basis- so I should probably be more anti uniform than I am. I just can't get worked up about it. Unless, as others are saying,n it's used as back door selection. Which in some cases it is.

LazarussLozenge Sat 04-May-13 08:30:20

How many private schools are non-uniform?

Uniforms are splendid addition to the school day. Particularly if the parents support the school in its implementation, and enforce the kids own preparation of the uniform (ironing and boot shining).

Never did me any harm.

If anything it helped, my own experience of wearing non-uniform and then uniform indicates that I wasn't as highlighted when i wore uniform. My individuality of dress is still in evidence, but I was bullied a lot more at the school 'not in uniform'.

seeker Sat 04-May-13 08:41:43

Private school uniforms are an entirely different thing- some of them are very definitely there to make a statement!

LazarussLozenge Sat 04-May-13 08:49:17

How are they a different thing?

They're not are they. Really.

seeker Sat 04-May-13 08:52:31

It depends. Many private schools just have similar uniforms to other schools. A uniform which is obviously a private school one is making a statement. Not saying whether this is good or bad-but you don't dress children in wing collars, mustard corduroy knickerbockers or boaters without a reason.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sat 04-May-13 13:50:43

private school is a different matter. The pantomime outfits chosen by some private schools are used as advertisement 'look, my DCs go to private school!'. I cant believe that knickerbockers improve academic performance.

State schools should not dictate what their students wear. It just isnt their business especially when there is no evidence of it having any impact on educational performance.

The 'did me no harm' argument is no justification whatsoever. There are lots of things which did me no harm that I wouldnt like to see made compulsory.

Students are only proud of their uniform if they are proud of the organisation it represents. My DCs are not proud of their school (it is crap by any measure) so their uniform is treated with justifiable contempt.

DS goes to army cadets, he is proud of the cadets, he is proud of the uniform. His uniform is crisply ironed, his boots are polished to a glassy shine.

dexterpat Sat 04-May-13 14:02:17

My ds1 is in reception £7 jumper is the only thing I can't get from Asda

I'm a secondary teacher our school uniform costs £35 all in which includes a school branded; blazer, tie, lanyard, track suit, polo & rugby shirt - full pencil case and school bag you do need to add black trousers white shirt socks shoes and trainers I think this is great value my school is in a very deprived area

My last school was private to buy all of the equipment was £500 including the £35 home economics branded basket! And the £100 blazer! No options available to buy anywhere else but at school!!

We have subtly different ties to denote year of student - I like them in uniform it's smart and cheap, wears well

Faxthatpam Sat 04-May-13 14:22:44

Primary age kids don't really need a uniform or homework - both silly and unnecessary IMO.

Secondary shcool age kids, as others have said, will invent their own uniform anyway. So if it's affordable it's a good idea as it does away with the "what will I wear today?" issue in the mornings.

Suits for 6th formers is pretentious bollox. IMO.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sat 04-May-13 14:43:51

our school uniform costs £35 all in which includes a school branded; blazer, tie, lanyard, track suit, polo & rugby shirt - full pencil case and school bag

Just a quick search on the internet I can get:

- Joggers £6
- Polo shirt £2
- Rugby shirt £8
- school bag £4
- pens/pencils/case £5

The other £10 spent on blazer, tie, lanyard is simply a waste of money. School uniform isnt a bargain.

If I dont have to worry about getting a particular colour I can buy what is available. Funnily enough local school colours sell out quickly.

LazarussLozenge Sat 04-May-13 14:49:47

'nooka Sat 04-May-13 03:13:27

dd (who generally care about her appearance rather more than he does) said '2 seconds to 2 minutes'.'

And you believe her? She'll be thinking about it more and more, esp as boys start looking in.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sat 04-May-13 14:49:52

What "what will I wear today?" issue in the mornings.?

Are there thousands of teenagers sitting around in their pants this morning because they didnt know what to wear? My 3 teens all managed to get themselves dressed today without the intervention of a large organisation.

LazarussLozenge Sat 04-May-13 15:13:14

Do you really think that teens DON@T think about how they dress in order to conform with whatever norms are in force at the time?

No, they may not be sat in their pants scratching their balls in the morning, but you can be sure they've thought about it at some point... maybe during calculus.

Faxthatpam Sat 04-May-13 15:33:41

What Lazaruss said. I have 3 teens too - and to a varying degree they think about what they wear a LOT. Mine are all boys, but the girls I know think about it even more.

dexterpat Sat 04-May-13 15:43:51

That's a full track suit - which looks like a proper team logos on trousers and track suit top same logos on everything else too - I'm sure you can get cheap stuff else where but with a lit of faffing checking prices not having stock returning ill fitting stuff - ours sold at below the cost and part of the cost is covered by the school (we are over 50% fsm) the kids are proud of their uniform and belonging to our school - out sixth form also has a uniform ( much less formal than years 7-11) our uniform is ordered into school every child is measured at end of year 6 ( transition day) and uniform can be picked up from mid August at school

My sons jumper is only sold in one shop in town (10 miles away) they run out quickly

mam29 Sat 04-May-13 15:44:32

I just think uniforms fine if its not a monopoly ie 1 supplier and theres choice, its affordable.

new school allowing no logo stuff saved me loads and they have well stocked 2nd hand supply.

Back in the 80 when logo stuff not out nanan knitted jumper or cardies jumpers were from normal shop then that looked smart and cheap.

They could even do iron on or sew on emblems so could buy geiorge jumper in correct colour.

seniors much more pricey and people her do judge school by their uniform.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sat 04-May-13 16:27:48

seeker - don't you find your post a bit ironic? I mean, you regularly mock pro selectives parents for thinking that SMs are full of knuckle dragging yobs. You then post how your DD gets elbowed into the streets because her uniform marks her out as a student at the posh school.

You aren't exactly painting a nice picture of a school that you want other parents to send their kids

seeker Sat 04-May-13 16:32:41

MTS- you are making assumptions about which child is being elbowed........

LaQueen Sat 04-May-13 18:04:30

Our local grammar school uniforms really aren't especially fancy, or distinctive. My Mum was quite disappointed when she saw what the DDs would wear (her GS school uniform, back in the 50s, was straw boaters and white gloves...).

But, they are recognisable...and, it means the wearers do get heckled/pilloried when walking to/from grammar school, if their paths cross with the pupils from the secondary moderns in town sad

nooka Sat 04-May-13 18:06:24

Lasaruss why should I not believe her? Of course it is a bit of an exaggeration but I wake her up in the morning so I know how long she has to get ready. She never has her clothes laid out and she is always in a hurry. Mind I was exactly the same at her age and I wore the lovely polyester crap. I didn't spend much time thinking about that either except when I was being told off about it.

The other thing we don't have around here is fights between schools, something I remember well from my school days and have also seen fairly regularly since. As there is no visible difference between the kids from the different schools they just don't happen here. Not that the kids aren't proud of their schools at times, they are, but it's not a big deal apart from at competitive events.

LaQueen Sat 04-May-13 18:07:20

Conversely, DH's grammar school uniform also made him (and his GS friends) a prime target for the secondary modern lads, when walking through town to school...but, being boys they gave as good as they got, and I think as many secondary moderns lads got a beating, as the grammar school boys?

DH says it was regularly open warfare, with running battles, and certain roads being no-go areas hmm

LaQueen Sat 04-May-13 18:09:37

Actually, yes seeker - you ridiculed me very recently, for saying I was trying to keep my DDs from mixing with the knuckle draggers at a comp...and, that actually such beings didn't exist in comprehensives, and I was just being a snob...

seeker Sat 04-May-13 18:13:04

LaQueen- you too are making assumptions about which of my children is being elbowed because of their uniform.

LaQueen Sat 04-May-13 18:20:34

Well, you say it's your DS being, is your DS is being elbowed by the GS boys, because he goes to the local secondary modern?

pointythings Sat 04-May-13 18:22:50

Whole hordes of school children in countries all over Europe (many of which do better than the UK in terms of educational outcomes) don't seem to have major issues around deciding what to wear.

A 6th former at DD's secondary came out with that argument in favour of uniform. I only just refrained from witheringly telling her that if her decision making processes were that poor I feared for her future. She was only 17 after all.
But dear God, what a useless bloody argument!

seeker Sat 04-May-13 18:26:25


Bonsoir Sat 04-May-13 18:27:50

School uniform, like many other aspects of education, is largely anachronistic.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sat 04-May-13 18:31:51

Again, I have to agree with you*pointythings*. My DD went through primary school in NL and I dont remember a single episode of 'what shall I wear?'

Not having to worry about school uniform meant that the DCs just needed something to be ready not a specific thing.

Bonsoir Sat 04-May-13 18:35:54

IME DCs in countries with no school uniform culture wear jeans, trainers, t-shirts and hoodies to school most of the time. Easy, comfortable, practical and available in all possible colours and price points.

pickledsiblings Sat 04-May-13 18:46:05

As a kid I just knew that the girl at GB (girls brigade) with the 'posh' uniform went to a 'good' school. She did, and consequently so did I. It was all down to her uniform. Not sure what that says about me.

LazarussLozenge Sat 04-May-13 19:58:56

Didn't you wear a Girls Brigade uniform at GB?

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 00:37:33

seeker - in a recent thread about the importance of going to a school near where a DC lives from a socialising viewpoint you said that your DD's GS is 13 miles away from your home. Previously you said that your home is in an economically deprived part of town.

So I'm guessing that these bullies are local kids that go to the GS as opposed to GS kids from the posh part of town.

It is important to establish the facts since you seem to be painting a picture of your SM son being bullied by posh kids from the GS.

seeker Sun 05-May-13 07:29:02

You do realize that this stalkerishness is making you look a little unhinged?

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 07:45:29

Someone is getting a bit paranoid. I remember you recently accused some other poster of stalking you. It was then pointed out to you that your 'stalker' was the OP grin grin so technically you was stalking her.

I noticed that you dodged the question. So I was right then.

seeker Sun 05-May-13 07:58:44

"Nope. You're my only stalker. You and your many alter egos.

I would answer your question. But you have some of your facts wrong, despite your detailed dossier of my life. And I know from past experience that you will stick to your inaccurate interpretation, regardless. So there is no point.

So. Fair enough, MTS. You know best."

ninjasquirrel Sun 05-May-13 07:59:45

Wow this thread is long! But in answer to the original question, a review of educational interventions to improve attainment found there wasn't great evidence for school uniforms, and what there was showed they didn't have an effect.

FWIW I had to wear uniform up to sixth form and was very happy not to have to worry about my clothes being uncool.

HollyBerryBush Sun 05-May-13 08:09:03

I'm going to make a statement of fact which isn't racist, but factual.

Of the 14 secondaries that converge at the clock tower of an afternoon, co-ed, single sex, grammar, sec mod and comprehensive, the only school that is a re-enactment of Beirut is the Catholic boys school (and I've worked there too). It has race wars (black on white, black on black) high levels of immigrant population. The pupils travel far and wide looking for "victims", out of borough as well. It is continually in the press, generally for stabbings, frequently fatal. Massive drug problem too.

The whole area naturally evaporates of shoppers between 2 and 4 because of their behaviour and is awash with police. All the other school mix in quite happily, waiting for their buses, catching up with mates from primary school and so forth so where this whole 'grammar kids get their heads kicked in' comes from, I don't see it.

The Catholic Boys School was one of the most frightening places I've ever worked. 14yo's my arse, might have been getting access to the UK on the passport of a 14yo, but there were a lot who were clearly in their late teens and early 20's with a hell of a lot of 'tribal' baggage. You try getting between three alleged 14yo's going at it hammer and tongs in their home tongue, who then round on you because you are a woman, white and therefore a piece of shit in their eyes.

and more high profile case

Went a bit tangent there. So uniform has it's place if only to ID murderers.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 08:23:58

Anyone with teenage daughters know that Cath Kidson, Jack Wills plus a few other names that I can't remember are must haves brands. And I am talking about kids from state schools as well as private.

Can you imagine being a parent on a limited income telling their DD that mum can't afford £20 for a T Shirt and that the one from Matalan is just as good to wear to school?

I'm on the fence when it comes to my DS. Standard casual for them is jeans our hoodies. Whereas with the girls it's all about brands. A uniform policy removes this expensive keeping up with the girls pressure.

seeker Sun 05-May-13 08:29:03

Hollyberrybush- are there two St Columbas in Bexley?

LaQueen Sun 05-May-13 08:37:45

"so where this whole 'grammar kids get their heads kicked in' comes from, I don't see it."

I don't think that GS kids necessarily get their heads kicked in - as I said, my DH, and his friends (all grammar school boys) gave as good as they got, when it came to fisticuffs. Just because they were studying advanced calculus and Latin, didn't mean they were above rolling up their sleeves and throwing a few punches.

But, not sure whether that is because they were boys?

However, at our local girls' grammar, they do get heckled/pilloried on their way to and from school - by the girls from the local secondary moderns. My friend's Yr 7 DD, has been subjected to it quite a lot, to the point where she now walks a longer route to the girl's GS, to avoid certain streets.

LaQueen Sun 05-May-13 08:39:57

In that case then seeker I would assume the reason your DS is getting elbowed/bullied on his way to school is actually to do with the socio-economic environment these boys have come from - and has little to do with the actual school they're at?

LazarussLozenge Sun 05-May-13 08:40:53

And if it wasn't school uniform it would be hair colour, fashion, bags on one strap or two or any number of other things.

They'd know she was at that school because she wasn't at theirs.

seeker Sun 05-May-13 08:45:21


I did not say our house is in a socio economically deprived area. I said that our town is in an area of significant socio economic deprivation.

And children who come from the estates in question do not, almost without exception, attend the school the "elbowers" come from.

LaQueen Sun 05-May-13 08:51:50

Whatever you say seeker.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 08:56:52

seeker - you've posted that the local school that your DS goes to is predominantly low income WC. How come that catchment extend all the way to your MC burb? Sounds like a longer than normal radius.

seeker Sun 05-May-13 09:00:18

We are very rural. Both schools take children from the town and the surrounding area.

This is relevant to the uniform discussion exactly how?

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 09:07:38

It's a lot more closer to the OP than where I buy my chicken from.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 09:10:26

Kids pick on kids from different schools. Happens everywhere. Why turn it into a kids from posh school picks on kids from poor school (or vice versa) thing?

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 05-May-13 09:12:35

From experience of two DDs both fashion conscious but on a budget the expensive brands just dont register. Perhaps it is a big city thing?

The people with focus on brand will do that anyway. School uniform wont stop it unless the school prescribes where the uniform can be purchased (which I believe they are not supposed to do).

The empirical evidence (ie most of the rest of the world) shows that an absence of uniform does not automatically lead to a decline in educational standards, an inability to get dressed for school or a mass outbreak in fashion based bullying.

LaQueen Sun 05-May-13 09:22:28

MTS didn't you know that all kids from selective schools, are just nasty-minded snobs, who like nothing better than to harrass the poor, (but spiritually noble) kids from the humble secondary moderns...

I wonder seeker if you would despise and resent selective schools, and all they represent, if your DS had actually managed to get into one? And, not just your DD?

seeker Sun 05-May-13 09:24:59

<why do I do this>

MTS- do I have to spell it out for you?
I posted, in passing-
"*Mind you, my ds wears a uniform which means he gets elbowed into the road by other kids on a regular basis- so I should probably be more anti uniform than I am. I just can't get worked up about it."*

To which you replied -
*" You then post how your DD gets elbowed into the streets because her uniform marks her out as a student at the posh school.
You aren't exactly painting a nice picture of a school that you want other parents to send their kids"*
A piece of point missing spectacular even by your standards!

Catmint Sun 05-May-13 09:25:29

Hully, perhaps you should agree to the uniform proposal on condition that a study on performance is implemented?

seeker Sun 05-May-13 09:26:25

"I wonder seeker if you would despise and resent selective schools, and all they represent, if your DS had actually managed to get into one? And, not just your DD?"

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 09:28:17

The boys at our selective are a bit nerdy. Shouting at the Mini United Nations Club is about as aggressive as they get. I don't think that they would live long if they started picking on the kids from the local comp smile

seeker Sun 05-May-13 09:28:52

Didn't mean to post that. I was going to reply but decided not to. My IPad had other ideas.

LaQueen, I have been posting consistently about the iniquities of the selective system since before my ds was of school age. As you well know.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 09:41:27

IPad eh? Unless you live in a cave you will be aware of the scandals surrounding the working conditions at the Chinese factory.making ipads. But hey, at least you are ethical enough to support organic farmers eh?

Lavenderhoney Sun 05-May-13 09:45:27

My nieces and nephews in France don't wear uniforms and still manage to be good performers- uniforms there have been abolished for years.

Mine at school was awful, hot and uncomfortable - blazers and shirts with ties.

My ds has a uniform, horrible material etc. They often have own clothes days, and the teacher says she doesn't notice a difference in behaviour or performance, just that the children look so different.

Some school uniform colours suit some, some don't. My ds wouldn't wear those colours out of school, he looks dreadful- all washed out and clashing with his hair and eyes.

ExcuseTypos Sun 05-May-13 09:45:29

seeker I would leave this thread if I were you.

You seem to have a couple of stalkers on your hands. It's really not worth it.

Hullygully Sun 05-May-13 09:45:47

They don't care if I or any other parent or child agree, Catmint. They "just think"

The dreaded "we want it to be true so we've decided that it is."

<raises eyebrows at internecine strife that has developed>

LazarussLozenge Sun 05-May-13 09:49:34

Inequities of the selective system?

By default it in unequal, as iti s a selective system. Doesn't mean it is unfair though.

Your Son failed to be selected, your Daughter was. I take it there was no unfairness taht your Daughter was selected whilst other daughters were not?

Your son wasn't good enough... live with it, encourage him to achieve with what strengths he does have.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 09:53:22

If I said that I was against the factory farming of chickens and that I shop at Costco then we both know what you would be calling me.

And you would be right.

You are promoting the injustice that you hate. The fact that you reluctantly do it doesn't really make you any better than the parent who enthusiastically embrace selective education.

Anyway, the thread is about uniforms so lets not derail it.

Catmint Sun 05-May-13 09:56:55

Hully If any of your dcs have a project to do, please encourage them to research this topic, there is so much fodder to strike blows for evidence based policy making!

I actually have no strong feelings about uniform either way, I find it quite convenient. But highhandedness I cannot bear.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 05-May-13 09:57:55

I have heard that argument used. I tried to discuss the introduction of a new uniform with the head o