School Uniforms Are They Important?

(138 Posts)
KarenIsabella Fri 12-Jul-13 12:16:59

My child is just about to start nursery in at an independent school where children are not required to wear a school uniform and I just want to air my thoughts about this topic after various discussions with friends and collegues.

For me it is important that children be free from the constraints and ideas imposed by others and nurtured to develop their own ideas and ideals. I am all for children looking nice and smart but what is the real purpose of the school uniform? Really it’s the removal of a person’s individuality and free thinking.

This can be seen in the military where individualism and willfulness is seen as a negative thing! In these organisations uniforms are given a very high importance and any deviation from the prescribed uniform is a serious issue.

Individuals are not welcome in the military, perhaps they are scared that if military people realised that war was not a good idea they would abandon the organisation!

So all in all uniforms are really a form of control, is that what we want our children? Preparing them from an early age to have no personality, no freedom of thought or individualism is not for me.

At primary school most children aren't really choosing their clothes anyway - they are choosing from among clothes their parents have bought or okayed and put in the drawer/cupboard. This is particularly true at 3+ for nursery.

I am neither pro nor con uniform at primary level, as I can see the benefits of both. I think it only becomes a control v individuality issue later on.

chickensaladagain Fri 12-Jul-13 12:33:36

Uniform has many purposes

Removes opportunity for bullying due to wrong brand/style etc
Makes the dcs identifiable when out and about with school
Is cheap so stops own clothes being ruined by paint, grass stains etc
Creates a sense of community

You can be an individual within a school while recognising that some things are for the greater good
Both by dds question, use imagination and challenge, but they both wear uniform

Farewelltoarms Fri 12-Jul-13 12:36:31

If you think a uniform will mean they have no personality, then you've very little faith in the robustness of their character.

I marginally prefer a uniform, because my children go to a very economically and ethnically mixed school and so it promotes a sense of community within them.

But I don't feel strongly either way. Unless people start suggesting that my children have no freedom of thought because they wear some emblemmed polyester...

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 12-Jul-13 13:15:49

Uniform is a great leveller it hides the differences in wealth between families ( these can be huge even at private schools) and prevents bullying. Interestingly I had a French au pair who on discovering DD wore uniform voiced that she wished she'd had uniform at school as she had worried everyday about choosing her outfit.
At weekends DD get to celebrate her individuality by choosing her own clothes.

Periwinkle007 Fri 12-Jul-13 13:32:11

I personally think that yes they are important. and to be honest if there wasn't one at our school then I would create one for my kids in the sense that I would want them to have designated school clothes so they don't wreck their nice clothes. they wore a pinafore to preschool, not because they had to but because they were thick material and protected their tops. Their nice clothes were then worn at home and so not wrecked with paint or whatever.
I think it means children have one less thing to worry about. My daugher can choose what style to wear her hair in (within reason) what colour pants to wear, what to change into when she gets home from school. She is still very definitely an individual she just looks smart at school and she likes her uniform.

Euphemia Fri 12-Jul-13 13:44:14

For me it is important that children be free from the constraints and ideas imposed by others and nurtured to develop their own ideas and ideals.

All very noble and desirable, but there is a fair amount of schooling that requires children to do what is asked of them, to conform to the school's ideas of right and wrong, the school's aspirations and ideals.

keepsmiling12345 Fri 12-Jul-13 13:52:14

OP, glad you are happy with your decision to send your DC to a school which doesn't have uniform. To be honest, having a uniform (or not) was not a factor for me when choosing a school for my DD. Now we are 2 years into her schooling, at a school which does have a uniform, I would observe that all the children are perfectly capable of developing and demonstrating their own ideas, personalities, free thinking, etc etc, regardless of what they happen to be wearing!

noramum Fri 12-Jul-13 14:05:51

I am from Germany so uniform was alien to me whe DD started Reception. Two years later I can see advantages. And I can also confirm that in her class there are 30 individuals and not a mass of not thinking conformed idiots.

Uniform is not restricted to military. Lots of shops have a dress code, restaurants and hotels, leisure centre, reception and security of large companies. Do to forget NHS and police. Do you suggest every organisation where people have to "obey" a dres code are threatening the individualism of their employees?

Military is different because soldiers need to function as a group not as individuals. But I came from a military family and I have friends in the military and, believe me, all these people are as I individual as I am. There is a life outside the job as there is a life outside the classroom.

Would it be terrible of me to just snigger?

I don't mind much either way about uniform tbh, most schools that have it do so because the parents want it, not because the school authorities believe they are in the business of stamping out all personality from the children that come through their doors.

And schools that don't have uniform can have just as many rules and regulations which "constrain" the little darlings into a set of acceptable behaviours.

Some countries have an issue with children in unifrom - in France and Germany it is just socially unacceptable to consider it because of the memories of Hitler Youth it brings up. In the UK it is usually a sign of "middle-class" or "aspirational" schools to have a strong policy on uniforms.

At my DSs primary school, a litle girl arrived from France - her mum bought her a skirt, trousers, and pinafore, an assortment of white tops, and a choice of jumper, cardigan and sweatshirt. This met the girl's wish to pick her own outfit every day, while meeting the uniform requirements. I don' think she felt particularly constrained by having the junior equivalent of many womens 'capsule wardrobe'

KarenIsabella Fri 12-Jul-13 14:57:43

Ok yes true in some families, most of the people in my circle of friends allow their children to choose and most do choose from about the age of 3.

noblegiraffe Fri 12-Jul-13 15:05:01

My DS starts school in September, we went to his school today to pick up his new uniform. Children were out in the playground playing, and the teachers looked over at DS, outside the playground. It was immediately obvious to them without needing to recognise him that he wasn't 'one of theirs'.

KarenIsabella Fri 12-Jul-13 15:31:10

Chickensalad : Mmm I didn't think school uniforms were very cheap at all! Definitely not for independent schools I have seen anyway!

farewelltoarms : Young children are easily influenced what you might see as a polyester with an emblem on it might be very different to a child. Ask them today what they feel about their uniforms you might be surprised by their answers.

lonecatwithkitten : you say it hides differences in wealth? Really?! Initially perhaps and then they start noticing the area they live in, car parents drive holidays, birthday presents, Christmas presents etc

Euphemia :the school should not decide what is right for our children that is why it's so important to choose a school that is aligned with your idea of right and wrong. I personally don't think it's a crime not to wear a tie and I won't choose a school that thinks so.

noramum : yes that's exactly what I'm suggesting, they need you to conform to their ideals. Handy if you've already been trained early on at school. If soldiers have to function as a group do they have a say in the wars they fight?

amuminscotland : yes that is why children should be educated with real education not just being told what to do and think and to learn to repeat and do what is said to them.

"Education" has originated from another Latin term "Educere" which means "to lead forth" or "to come out". All these meanings indicate that education seeks to nourish the good qualities in man and draw out the best in every individual"

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 12-Jul-13 16:15:15

At DD's school it seems to hide the differences at least till the end of year 6.

quip Fri 12-Jul-13 16:36:21

I have to say that the only kids I know whose parents follow the "free of constraints" model of parenting are right bloody handfuls. Frankly I'm thankful that the OP isn't going to subject my kids' school to the products of her parenting philosophy.

PatriciaHolm Fri 12-Jul-13 16:47:57

I think you are going to struggle with school full stop, OP! There are many good reasons for uniform, which have been mentioned here. Schools have a lot of rules and regulations; in a good school, that doesn't stop the kids developing their own thoughts, beliefs and personalities, but if you are going to rail against them at all opportunities you are going to have a hard time over the next few years.

McFluffy Fri 12-Jul-13 16:53:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Owllady Fri 12-Jul-13 16:54:04

I think a school uniform when going to a normal state school in a mixed area is a good leveler for children.

Very different from a steiner school

piprabbit Fri 12-Jul-13 16:54:51

I would guess that, in the absence of a formal uniform, most children will end up wearing an psuedo-uniform where they all end up looking pretty similar to each other anyway.
The only differences will be whether Little Grace's leggings come from DKNY, Boden, Next or F&F.

Justfornowitwilldo Fri 12-Jul-13 16:54:53

'Would it be terrible of me to just snigger?'

Not if I can join you grin

MrsOakenshield Fri 12-Jul-13 16:58:37

I don't feel that strongly about it, but the state primary we had our eye on for DD (until the catchment shrunk grrrr) didn't have uniform which was an appeal, though not the main one, and I can't really articulate why. This school does very well, and is pretty diverse in many ways. I'm beginning not to see the point of uniform, to be honest (and some are so ugly! Mint green sweatshirts, yeuch). I think I'm right in thinking that the top achieving girls's school in the country (St Paul's) doesn't have uniform? <actually, not sure why that's relevant>

rufusnine Fri 12-Jul-13 17:10:58

I think it makes it easier for parents to have a set uniform - no meltdowns on a morning choosing which outfit to wear, best clothes kept for after school and week ends and not covered in paint etc. Our school has 'set' colours for each garment and does order in some garments with the school logo - which is more expensive - however parents are free to choose Tesco, Asda, M & S or any other school uniform as long as its in the correct colours. Most of our parents choose to mix and match - buying some with logo from school and some from the aforesaid shops. So I am all for a relaxed uniform but personally don't like the compulsory school tie and blazer type of uniform which I was forced to wear along with a stupid beret

Dackyduddles Fri 12-Jul-13 17:14:00

Odfod.

Don't like em don't go to school using em.

Simples

NoComet Fri 12-Jul-13 17:21:47

In hot weather like this when they'd all like to be sandals, shorts and a tea shirt, they are a sodding nuisance.

In midwinter when they'd like jeans not stupid let the wind through polyester trousers, they are a sodding nuisance.

Girls school shoes are stupid. The'd be far better in trainers most of the year.

The purpose of school uniforms, they look nice in class photos.

KarenIsabella Fri 12-Jul-13 17:23:46

Just for the record I have no problem with rules and regulations what I will not support is the control and removal of free thought in society beginning with young children especially at the so-called top private schools were young minds are conditioned to obey and repeat.

mummytime Fri 12-Jul-13 17:40:05

Sandals!
No! No! No!
Children in school need shoes which protect their toes. Lots of things can be dropped on feet, and other children are very good at standing on feet.

A lot of work places wouldn't allow Teeshirt, shorts and Sandals as a dress code either. Although most Primaries around here have polo-shirts, and most secondaries have a summer uniform of house polo-shirts.

imademarion Fri 12-Jul-13 17:49:00

Really it’s the removal of a person’s individuality and free thinking.

My DC wear uniform and there is nothing homogenous about their thinking or personalities.

One school I attended in Europe had a no-uniform policy and the pupils were uniformly obsessed with designer labels and vodka.

I think it's naive to place so much importance on what they wear; what they learn and how they think will prove more important in the long run.

clam Fri 12-Jul-13 17:52:07

Slightly off-track - we had a child who was sent in to school wearing flipflops ffs this week, as the mum said she'd hurt her toe. Child was running round a corner, (toe had clearly stopped hurting by then), tripped over and landed face-first in a wall, chipping her front tooth in half.

Scarletbanner Fri 12-Jul-13 18:04:37

I'm not sure what the point of this thread is. OP doesn't like uniform so has chosen a school which doesn't have a uniform. So that's nice. Not sure why it matters that other schools and other parents make different choices.

We have just moved house and dc have moved from a school which did have uniform to one which doesn't. I wish the new school did too, but it wasn't so important to me to make me choose a different school. It really wasn't that big a deal compared to other factors.

Schmedz Fri 12-Jul-13 20:18:16

As a teacher from a school who regularly credit our 5 and 6 year old children with the ability to catch public transport for school trips I can tell you that a uniform is particularly useful when visiting busy public places with large groups of young children ( and ironically the H&S hi-vis jackets tend to obscure these when at events involving many schools but that is another thread topic...)

Please add me to the 'giggle brigade of people' who find the idea of equating the wearing of uniform with restriction of free thought and enquiry absolutely ludicrous! Assuming OP won't be voting Conservative at the next election smile

horsetowater Fri 12-Jul-13 20:22:58

There is no evidence to prove that school uniform makes children work better or behave better. It can prevent gang problems after school but that's about it really.

I think it takes so much away from young people and that reflects on adults too. We don't see their individuality as much. I'm against it myself but there are thousands that will argue in favour.

lljkk Fri 12-Jul-13 21:29:17

DD is an ultra-competitve 11yo fashionista & she thinks uniform is brill. it takes away a huge amount of peer pressure about getting her look right. I think my teen DS has same problem, he just doesn't need that extra pressure to get it right.

That said I don't much see the point below around yr3.

MuddlingMackem Fri 12-Jul-13 21:59:54

StarBallBunny Fri 12-Jul-13 17:21:47

>>>> Girls school shoes are stupid. <<<<

Yes, they are. Which is why we buy boys' school shoes for our daughter. And why the parents of one of her classmates have now also gone for boys shoes after having umpteen pairs of girls shoes trashed.

rhetorician Fri 12-Jul-13 22:04:05

Don't live in uk, and most primary schools here do have uniform. DD will be starting after the summer and won't have uniform. This feels right in terms of the ethos of the school, but I wouldn't attach any great meaning to it myself. Other things seem much more important.

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 12-Jul-13 22:53:10

I wouldn't send my children to a private school without uniform. It's bad enough on non uniform day st my childtens prep with everyone comparing designer brands.

The talk in the last few weeks of ye 6 was which designer bag they were having for secondary - juniors had been regulation logo and even underwear is jack wills.

LynetteScavo Fri 12-Jul-13 23:00:31

I don't really care either way at primary age. I didn't wear a uniform until I was 12. I can see an advantage at secondary school)

Mind you, I do like a straw boater, and if there was a state school near me with boaters in the uniform, I would be very tempted to move house. wink

LynetteScavo Fri 12-Jul-13 23:01:31

Talking of designer bags, I think if secondary schools have a uniform, they may as well include uniform bags and coats.

NoComet Fri 12-Jul-13 23:56:14

At the moment DD2 has brogues, which are fairly sensible.

However, the normal ballet pumps are totally unsuitable for our rural lane. It may only be 20m to the bus stop, but the junction floods.

DD1 wears, Clarks ultra comfy Mary Janes that I'm sure are made for grannies. She'd be way happier in ankle boots. Heaven knows why they can't wear them, Perfectly smart with black trousers.

Mind you anything is smarter than two week old, Primark ballet pumps.

NoComet Fri 12-Jul-13 23:56:46

Sadly neither of my two would wear boys shoes.

mixedmamameansbusiness Sat 13-Jul-13 19:53:53

Honestly I had a uniform at both primary and secondary. I am an individual and always have been. I really think it is an overstatement when people say that it stifles individualism etc.

My own DC go to a non-uniformed school which is not our closest (which does have uniform) - they go there because we felt that it would provide them with the best education not because of what they can wear to school. Personally the uniform debate is an on the fence one for me. If our school introduces it I will buy it and they will wear it but will be the same lovely children gaining a rich and varied education at a lovely school.

Morgause Sat 13-Jul-13 20:07:11

I'm a former teacher and I am implacably opposed to school uniform.

Our choice of secondary school for our DSs was limited to schools with no uniforms. The school we and they chose had a dress code but no uniform and we were all happy with the choice. Sadly, since their time the head has given in to parental pressure and introduced a school uniform.

As a teacher I had far better things to do than check what students were wearing. Not my job.

As a grammar school girl I was forced to wear school uniform and a lot of us spent a considerable amount of time and energy trying to subvert the rules and nothing has changed since then.

In my experience a lot of parents want a school uniform because they are afraid to say no to what their children want to wear and want the school to do it for them. Lazy parenting, imo.

FormaLurka Sat 13-Jul-13 20:59:35

My DD and her mates are into Jack Wills, Hollister and Abercrombie. Thank God she spends the bulk of her time wearing a uniform. Forget about it being cheaper of the two, can you imagine the effort required to get dressed on a school day?

MrsOakenshield Sat 13-Jul-13 21:23:05

that's an interesting point, Morgause - how much time to staff have to spend policing uniform? Surely an utter waste of their time and training.

I remember having to man the corridors at school (senior) telling people to pull their socks up and tuck their shirt in - who cares??? Given that I have never worked anywhere that has a dress code, I do wonder what on earth the point was. And as for girls wearing ties (do they do this any more?) - why?????

MarianForrester Sat 13-Jul-13 23:00:05

They are important to support the polyester industry and the manufacturers of child sized old people's elastic waisted black trousers.

Without the demands of school uniform, these poor companies may not have a business at all

neverputasockinatoaster Sat 13-Jul-13 23:15:58

On the one hand I hate school uniform - DD has sensory issues and getting her into the winter uniform for her school is a living hell....

BUT she loves the summer uniform and it means I can buy 5 identical items of clothing and it won't be deemed odd.....

I teach and the school I work in has a very simple uniform - polo shirts and sweatshirts. I think that's OK as it means the good stuff doesn't get trashed!

TheBuskersDog Sun 14-Jul-13 09:59:58

Yet another thread that will end up with lots of people who have never had children at a non-uniform school telling us about how it leads to competitive dressing etc., no it doesn't because it is normal and not like non-uniform days in a school with uniform.

Regarding the OP, seriously you are over thinking the whole issue - you obviously believe in your military analogy and that's fine but you do come across as a bit evangelical. I assure you children in schools with uniform do not feel oppressed by it and I would say most don't even give it a thought, they all remain individuals.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 14-Jul-13 10:24:51

Thebuskersdog. - I went to a non uniform school. It was awful for me (fab for those with fashion sense and who wore the right brands) but awful for me.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 14-Jul-13 10:26:32

They introduced uniform when iwas in 5th year (yr 11) and I had one lovely year of normality.

FannyMcNally Sun 14-Jul-13 10:34:41

Personality is not defined by clothes! What a weird op confused. Our children's personalities and idiosyncrasies shine through precisely because they are all wearing the same thing. And at our infant school it is not 'freedom of thought' being crushed it's 'parents' obsessions with labels and cuteness' that are being crushed thankfully.

You'll be starting on behaviour consequences next. Why not HE?

Morgause Sun 14-Jul-13 15:57:21

Buskersdog, I did feel very much oppressed in my uniform school. That's one of the reasons I'm so anti now.

Mrs Oakenshield, We were supposed to take one turn a week supervising children in and out of assembly to ensure they were in uniform and wearing it correctly. Class teachers were also supposed to check at the beginning of the day. I preferred to use that time to hear my slower readers and give them some extra time.

It led to difficulties for families who couldn't always afford to replace outgrown or damaged uniform items and bullying of those children "incorrectly dressed". Some nasty little scroats took great delight in ratting on their classmates.

mummytime Sun 14-Jul-13 16:50:51

Well at my secondary they tried to re-introduce school Uniform, with my year. Our female Head of Year wasn't behind the year, so let us get away with gradually not wearing it. I was oppressed, being pretty conformist and not cool, I did not dare wear a single item of clothing that was blue from year 9 onwards.

My DD is far less oppressed in her school Uniform. Which as it is heavily cracked down on, causes far less hassle than other schools where the school has been less strictly enforced. She can also wear whatever she likes outside school, even if it is in the uniform colours.

somewheresomehow Sun 14-Jul-13 18:19:48

why do you think kids feel oppressed in a school uniform, a school has to have a form of control over the kids or it wouldn't be a school just a bloody childminding building with kids running riot
who is putting the idea into their heads about being oppressed anyway

FannyMcNally Sun 14-Jul-13 18:25:26

Uniform gives the opposite feeling to oppression! Being able to express yourself without having to think about what you're wearing! Why can you only express yourself in terms of clothing? Odd language going on here...

CleverlyConcealed Sun 14-Jul-13 18:34:38

Throughout my time in education I never went to a school which had a uniform.

I can't remember being bothered about it at all in infants but the later years of middle school and in secondary school the pressure was horrific and I would have killed to have had a uniform. Because it turned out there was a uniform - it whatever was deemed fit/fashionable or the right brand by the cool kids.

FormaLurka Sun 14-Jul-13 18:37:25

OP - Your DC's teachers are going to love you smile

FormaLurka Sun 14-Jul-13 18:38:44

OP - Your DC's teachers are going to love you smile

chocoholic05 Sun 14-Jul-13 18:57:03

Don't most schools have a uniform these days? I think I'd have great difficulty finding a school that didn't have a uniform in my area even if I wanted to!

KarenIsabella Sun 14-Jul-13 19:36:24

Thank you Morgause great insights from a teacher!

No I am not over-thinking this, I am deeply committed to the education and well-being of my children. I respect parents wish / indifference for a uniform and just wanted to air my views and understand opposing ideals. Maybe even to spark a thought in parents and question why their children are asked to dress alike, to repeat what they are told and not to question things. A uniform seems harmless enough right? And for most schools it is they merely "do what everyone else does".

That comment from somewheresomehow bothers me somewhat, let me just modify a few things:

why do you think kids feel oppressed in a school uniform, a school has to have a form of control over EDUCATE the kids or it wouldn't be a school just a bloody childminding building REAL PLACE OF EDUCATION with kids running riot PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE who is putting the idea into their heads about being oppressed FREE-THINKING anyway.

Have faith in your children they actually do know right from wrong and if you give them the choice and treat them with respect we wouldn't have this society of people working in jobs they hate, for organisations and governments without morality.

keepsmiling12345 Sun 14-Jul-13 19:41:16

OP, full marks for patronising! I love how you think that your amazing, insightful post may just "spark a thought in parents". What would I do without you? I've been bereft of independent thought until I read your posts. Clearly all because I went to a school which had a uniform. I repeat, I am delighted that you are happy with your choice of school which does not have a uniform. For the record, I am happy with my choice of school for my DD. End of.

FannyMcNally Sun 14-Jul-13 19:47:33

Are you in the UK? I'm just wondering if you are thinking about North Korea or somewhere.

KarenIsabella Sun 14-Jul-13 19:49:32

It is neither a particularly amazing or insightful post, if anything it is to educate myself and understand others. I am not in any way suggesting that all schools have a uniform for a particular purpose. Dont you ever wonder why things are as they are or are you just happy to accept what is given to you?

KarenIsabella Sun 14-Jul-13 19:51:19

Yes i am very much in the UK and funny you should mention North Korea, perfect example of my point.

keepsmiling12345 Sun 14-Jul-13 19:56:08

And there you go again with the patronising. Yes, of course I often think about why things are as they are, I question things and I bring my DD up to do the same. What annoys me about your post is that many people have tried to discuss with you their feelings why uniforms do not automatically lead to children unable to think independently (as your posts suggest) and yet you don't seem willing really to want to hear different views to your own. I am content that my DD goes to a school that has a uniform and is taught to think for herself and question, but also learns how to listen to others' opinions. I really have no problem with your not wanting your DC to wear a uniform but suggesting that nobody else but you has seen the cunning plan that renders children in uniforms unable to form independent thought is a bit pathetic.

mrz Sun 14-Jul-13 19:57:58

KarenIsabella who buys your child's clothes?

KarenIsabella Sun 14-Jul-13 20:16:37

If you look at my posts you will see I have read all the responses carefully. Thank you for your contributions AlienAttack I respect your opinions and unlike yourself I not been rude to any of the responses.

Mrz my child chooses all the clothes she wears.

mrz Sun 14-Jul-13 20:20:08

That wasn't what I asked KarenIsabella

KarenIsabella Sun 14-Jul-13 20:30:07

mrz I buy all the clothes she wears.

LynetteScavo Sun 14-Jul-13 20:38:44

my child chooses all the clothes she wears.

You are a braver woman that me, KarenIsabella. If my DC had no school uniform, I would be controlling what they wore. So they sadly wouldn't be free form the constraints imposed by others.

It's great that you can afford this for your DD though. I'm kind of with you.

keepsmiling12345 Sun 14-Jul-13 20:42:33

karenisabella I refer you to your post at 15.31 on 12 July. Please point out to me where you have taken on board other people's viewpoints? Sorry if you feel I have been rude. I never intended to be rude but I did intend to highlight to you that I was finding your posts rude and patronising.

mrz Sun 14-Jul-13 20:45:21

I just wondered if any doting relatives purchase clothes as gifts

lljkk Sun 14-Jul-13 20:48:44

In my experience a lot of parents want a school uniform because they are afraid to say no to what their children want to wear and want the school to do it for them. Lazy parenting, imo.

Wow, harsh or what? Say what you really mean.

mintyneb Sun 14-Jul-13 20:55:38

But what happens if once an adult, your dc gets a top job in the city where there is a 'uniform' of suits and ties? Or a job in the media where everyone seems to wear a 'uniform' of jeans and t shirts? Are you happy that they will conform to other peoples ideas and ideals at that stage or will you still want them to dress as they please?

mrz Sun 14-Jul-13 20:57:11

When my daughter was three or four she desperately wanted some dresses which her grandfather bought for her. Years later looking back at the photographs of herself wearing said items she commented on what was I thinking to dress her that way ...hmm

KarenIsabella Sun 14-Jul-13 21:05:14

AlienAttack my post at 15.31 on 12 July is intended to elaborate on my point of view, believe me I have had discussions with other mothers about the topic and some parents don't really understand why I have these views so I find that elaborating on my idea helps people to understand.

By my own philosophy I must respect parents choice to dress their children in uniform but increasingly I find that parents do not have a strong belief and have a certain indifference to uniforms. So I would like to present my strong point of view and hear the pros and cons of parents outside my social circle.

Mrz Ah yes there are occasional gifts although my daughter has the choice to use them or not.

LynetteScavo Thank you! I must say as with anything education is the key here, we will often read with her about different topics and in the case of clothes advise our child about what is practical and appropriate for the occasion. She is free to take the advise or learn through experience.

Euphemia Sun 14-Jul-13 21:07:19

So I would like to present my strong point of view and hear the pros and cons of parents outside my social circle.

Why? What's in it for you?

KarenIsabella Sun 14-Jul-13 21:12:59

But what happens if once an adult, your dc gets a top job in the city where there is a 'uniform' of suits and ties? Or a job in the media where everyone seems to wear a 'uniform' of jeans and t shirts? Are you happy that they will conform to other peoples ideas and ideals at that stage or will you still want them to dress as they please?

mintyneb Sure I would be happy, everyone has the choice if that is what suits her perfect. Just because I don't follow convention it doesn't mean she shouldn't.

keepsmiling12345 Sun 14-Jul-13 21:17:20

karenisabella , we still seem to be at cross purposes here. I agree completely with your last post addressed to lynettescavo but I am content that wearing school uniform is not mutually exclusive from my DD being encouraged to decide what clothes are practical and appropriate. She gets to decide every weekend and every day in the 13 weeks of holidays. She can also decide whether she wants to change clothes after school etc. please provide evidence to support our theory that children wearing school uniform are unable to demonstrate independent thought.

keepsmiling12345 Sun 14-Jul-13 21:18:22

Oops. Your theory. Certainly not our theory.

RestingUnderTheSun Sun 14-Jul-13 21:22:15

My experience is that buying a school uniform is actually more expensive. I am buying stuff for the dcs for out of school. They need enough to wear for the hols ie 2 weeks at a time + some stuff for 'special occasions'.
That is about the same amount I would buy them if they were also wearing these clothes for school.
So school uniform = more clothes to buy so more expenses

I agree that a school uniform indicates which school is the child going to. Helpful in Primary when they their twice a year outings.
But even wo a uniform, children and esp teenagers are very good at 'accessorizing' them to give all the messages they want/need about where they shop/how wealthy they are (well their parents are).
It might be what shoes they are wearing, where the trousers are coming from etc...

Personally, I am feeling sad that they in effect learning that going to school (and then work) = wearing the cheapest clothes possible. Nylon trousers that look awful etc... just on the ground that 'you only need cheap clothes for school as they are going to get ruined'. I would prefer them to learn how to look after their stuff and wear a coat in winter when it's snowing

LynetteScavo Sun 14-Jul-13 21:30:42

I do suspect that an independent school which has no school uniform will have different ethos to one where 4yo's are wearing shirt and ties.

One of my DC's goes to a high school where until a few years ago there was no uniform. When the school introduced a new uniform (with a new HT) parents were up in arms, marching around with placards, etc. They have kept the tradition of calling teacher by their first names, but I think they maybe very gently trying to phase this out (again, a new HT).

For me, the only schools I wanted DS to go to were the very traditional boys grammar, or the "hippy" school where they are on first names with the teachers. The average comp's in-between the two just didn't cut it for me. I chose the school where the DC seemed happiest and most relaxed.

teacherwith2kids Sun 14-Jul-13 21:48:47

Apologies if this point has already been made -

I used to work in a school with fairly dramatic contrasts of wealth / social background and a lot of movement (children turning up on the doorstep expecting to start school that day etc).

Uniform was really important to us, and to those children. Not in a 'it makes them neat', nor 'it makes them conform' but 'in the two minutes it takes to produce a clean jumper from the secondhand box, a child - any child - can be transformed from an outsider into a member of the community'.

As many of our pupils were 'outsiders in society' for a variety of reasons (economic, cultural, to do with rural isolation, SEN), being able to create an immediate sense of 'belonging' and 'welcome' was genuinely valuable.

[So what if the jumpers were worn with stripy skirts and pink leggings? The children wore the school jumpers with pride.]

MrsOakenshield Mon 15-Jul-13 09:51:55

I'm not sure about that, teacherwith2kids - wouldn't it be better to teach all children that it doesn't matter what you wear? Rather than, stick on the same jumper as everyone else and then you'll belong?

lljkk Mon 15-Jul-13 12:16:47

I would love to be a bloke & get to wear their usual uniform of dress shirt & trousers. So much easier than the bewildering array of options for female office dress. It's doing my head in.

mummytime Mon 15-Jul-13 13:22:44

My DS is happily moving from a no-uniform sixth form to one where you have to wear a suit. He is much happier in uniform.

I know of a no-uniform private school, but in its lower school they have a sweatshirt for school trips, as it makes it much easier to spot their pupils quickly.

Blu Mon 15-Jul-13 13:32:06

DS was at a uniform-free primary, and evryone loved it - the governors have stipulated that they are looking for a new Head who will suport the policy.

There were very few problems over fashion antics, everyone wore jeans and tops.

The school (S London, very mixed demography across all indices) was extremely happy, excellent behaviour, very little bullying.

I woiuldn't equate unifoimrs with the military or a threat to individualism, but just putting your kid into thier ordinary clothes to go t school frlt like an ordinary thing to do.

I didn't find it more expensive: it relieved me of the job of making sure that we had clean uniform items, instead of having several school sweatshirts or polo shirts that couldn't be used for anything else, he just wore a normal range of his clothes (not very best).

Blu Mon 15-Jul-13 13:32:48

Also, it was far more flexible wrt the weather. Shorts one day, very loose light top, fleeces in winter...the kids were v comfortable.

rhetorician Mon 15-Jul-13 13:38:17

DD going to non uniformed primary. Am relieved not to have to have shirts ready for Monday mornings, plus all the children who are there wear appropriate clothing.

RestingUnderTheSun Mon 15-Jul-13 14:54:46

Yep my next door secondary school obviously has in their uniform policy that girls have to wear tights with a skirt.
So in the last few weeks, you had girls in skirt with tights on ... even though it was 27oC outside....

mrz Mon 15-Jul-13 17:28:02

Blu how does having a uniform stop you dressing a child for the weather ?

mummytime Mon 15-Jul-13 17:37:27

RestingUnderTheSun - my DCs secondary does not have a policy that says the girls have to wear tights. However the girls do because a) its the fashion b) they feel better about how they look (same as the 3 inches of make up). Maybe I could introduce her to Sally Hansen but actually she's in Mufti all this week.

teacherwith2kids Mon 15-Jul-13 17:55:01

MrsOaken,

The point I was making was slightly different.

The school had a large proportion - up to 30% - of Travellers, some settled on a neighbouring large site, some travelling. The Traveller community are, often, viewed with some suspicion, and as a group, by settled folk - seen as 'them', not 'us', if you will.

Putting on the school uniform instantly made the Traveller children 'us' not 'them' - to a completely different degree from simply turning up in similar looking non-uniform clothes to local families.

It's hard to describe, if you haven't seen it, but it was very tangible.

teacherwith2kids Mon 15-Jul-13 17:56:43

Like mrz, I am puzzled as to how a uniform - dresses / shorts / skirts and short sleeved tops in the summer, warm sweatshirts, trousers / skirts and tights with a fleece over it in the winter - prevents you from adapting what a child wears to the weather?

spanieleyes Mon 15-Jul-13 18:36:46

There were very few problems over fashion antics, everyone wore jeans and tops.

Goodness, how, err, ..........conformist and lacking in individuality!

cory Tue 16-Jul-13 08:27:50

noramum Fri 12-Jul-13 14:05:51
"I am from Germany so uniform was alien to me whe DD started Reception. Two years later I can see advantages. And I can also confirm that in her class there are 30 individuals and not a mass of not thinking conformed idiots.

Uniform is not restricted to military. Lots of shops have a dress code, restaurants and hotels, leisure centre, reception and security of large companies. Do to forget NHS and police. Do you suggest every organisation where people have to "obey" a dres code are threatening the individualism of their employees? "

Noramum has said exactly what I was going to say. I come from Sweden and I've had precisely this experience. I have not found British children more conformist or less able to think for themselves.

To me it is more like the dress code in a shop or overalls worn on a building site than a soldier's uniform. It is my children's work clothes, just like my husband's overalls and high viz jacket are his work clothes: they don't suddenly turn him into someone who can't think for himself.

Expensive uniform can no doubt be a problem, but in most schools the great beauty of uniform is that it is cheaper and more hard-wearing than most of the clothes dc would otherwise be wearing. And easy to pick up second-hand, at least around here.

I don't think Swedes should insist on having uniform introduced there: if it works well for them without it, that is fine. But it's a pretty conformist culture, just in more subtle ways. And incidentally, I was bullied over clothes there throughout my school career.

When I visited an English school as a teen my mother insisted on ideological grounds that I should not be made to wear uniform though the school offered to lend me one. With hindsight I find that rather ironic: if I have had any problems with independence in life it has been because I have found it hard to break free of my (lovely) mother's influence. Wearing a grey skirt for a few months would have done absolutely diddly squat for my conformist tendencies: in fact, I now believe that being encouraged to sometimes conform to outside influences would have done me good as it would have diluted the all-pervading influence of my own family and the way they did things.

vess Tue 16-Jul-13 10:04:58

Uniform is ok, but my kids would much rather not wear it. As a parent, I prefer no uniform as it is easier, cheaper and more comfortable.

LOL at uniform preventing the spoiling of their 'good clothes'.

aaabbbccc Tue 16-Jul-13 13:56:25

My child is at a private school where they don't have a uniform. I have always been a stickler for proper uniform so it took a while to get used to not having one.

My child is so much happier without a uniform but I can't explain why. There isn't any 'brand one upping' which surprised me, even among the Y7 and Y8 girls. The kids dress in a huge variety of ways but always in a practical way as they do a lot of out door learning. Hoodies and jeans are by far the most common clothes most of the year, right now, t-shirts and shorts or sports clothes are worn by everyone. With so much outdoor learning, it's easier to dress in normal clothes. I haven't spent any extra money on clothes for my child and there is never any issue in the mornings with deciding what to wear.

MrsOakenshield Tue 16-Jul-13 14:17:45

teacher - I'm struggling to articulate well on this (have already written and deleted several posts!) but in short, what you are saying is that it's good to remove a part of a child's identity (in this case, that s/he is a Traveller, which is somehoe identifiable by their clothing) and make them the same as everyone else? Who aren't all the same anyway?

Extrapolating wildy here, it almost sounds like saying to a Polish child - well, if you lose your accent you'll be one of us. Or to Muslim girl, if you take your headscarf off you'll fit in. Both of which would be pretty appalling things to say, would they not? Tolerance and acceptance of our differences is surely the better lesson.

I'm probably over-thinking this massively.

MrsOakenshield Tue 16-Jul-13 14:18:15

*somehow

teacherwith2kids Tue 16-Jul-13 17:02:29

No, I haven't explained it well either - because I realise that I had managed to imply that a Traveller is identifiable from their clothes, which isn't true in the slightest.

What my experience was, was that the school had an 'identity as a community' - a character, a set of values, an ethos, a way of being, much more than a set of rules or a single building - that was greater than the sum of all the individuals within it, even though all of those individual identities were preserved and valued (this doesn't happen in all schools, i will entirely agree at this point. But in this school it did - value for the individual but also the creation of a strong and inclusive community identity).

One of the 'tricks' that the school managed to pull off very successfully was in bringing together many very disparate 'out of school' communities and making them all feel part of the school one - and I cite the Travellers in particular because they were a community which lived very separate lives and because all previous generations had been unschooled but all our local traveller children were now attending school.

The uniform was a symbol of this - and only a symbol, it wouldn't have happened if there hadn't been more to it than just the uniform.

I suppose what I'm saying was that uniform isn't sufficient on its own to make someone part of a new community BUT if the new community is exceptionally good at welcoming people in, then the uniform can become a recognised 'shorthand' for 'you've joined us'. A bit like you can be a Scout without a necker or woggle but acquiring these has become a shorthand for 'you've joined'.

It's not about removing Traveller or settled identity, in any way. it's about creating, in school, an identity of 'belonging to this school' which does not in any way remove any other identity but is a new and separate 'group' identity. It's precisely because none of the individual identitities that you mention - nationality, religion, cultural - are solely defined by clothing that the 'transceding' eidentity of belonging to the school leaves those unaffected while also creating an inclusive group identity. Which happens to be 'those who wear the sweatshirt', but that is simply a symbolic shorthand for 'those who belong in this school community, wherein all are welcomed'.

Of course, you can achieve a community without any visible symbol of belonging. But a visible symbol can have an instantly transformative effect in some circumstances.

EarlyIntheMorning Tue 16-Jul-13 18:35:36

I am not from the UK, I had my primary and secondary education in a European country and I can tell you, the dilemma over choosing your own clothes every single day and the worry over what item of your clothing your classmates were going to mock next was AGONY. I am delighted my DC attend UK schools with uniforms for practical, ideological and emotional reasons.

MrsOakenshield Tue 16-Jul-13 22:24:08

teacher - I understand perfectly, now, thank you! A very articulate post, and I can see the effect you are talking about. Sorry for being so obtuse.

However, I still think at primary, which was what topic this post is in, for me, I'd prefer no uniform! And I still can't articulate why (is saying that the children in Shirley Hughes' books never wear uniform at school a good enough reason? Probably not).

OhTiger Tue 16-Jul-13 22:41:53

I read on here, I think written by a headmistress, that uniform gives teenagers the opportunity to rebel against something completely harmless.

So for that reason I like it.

Although I do think it is a shame that most uniform involves grey, which is a dreadful color to put children in.

cory Wed 17-Jul-13 10:55:58

Agree that grey is a bit miserable and it never seems to go with the colours of the top. Ds' secondary has black trousers, with light blue shirt and navy pullover, no tie. The effect is very pleasing: neat and tidy and actually quite attractive. And- glory be!- it is cheap.

EarlyIntheMorning Wed 17-Jul-13 13:17:32

Well talking of grey uniform, I need to find grey trousers and long sleeved shirt in 100% cotton for 9 YO boy. I have found trousers in the skinkind range in M&S but no shirts anywhere sad

Early I used to work at a school with those shirts - from memory most came from the uniform shop or JL. You might get them from M&S online though. What size?

EarlyIntheMorning Wed 17-Jul-13 14:11:18

Hi Horry, I need size 9. Problem is, the ones from M&S and JL are 60% polyester.

If you can afford these, try Stevenson's: here

It's weirdly laid out but this shirt is as definitely 100% cotton as I can find (rang the shop to ask them to check the label) and from my personal experience of them they are easy to wash/iron and comfortable to wear. They're softer than normal shirts - more like old fashioned flannel - but if they must be 100% cotton...

Sorry, it's the "warm Dragon" shirt in the middle you're looking at. You need to register to be able to order and look at prices though.

Sorry again - click the boy's head on the Dragon line, then it's the middle "Dragon Warm" shirt you're looking at.

I am an idiot.

DonutForMyself Wed 17-Jul-13 15:02:11

MuddlingMackem glad its not just me who buys DD boys' shoes for school! Girls shoes are so impractical.

I admit for DS his uniform is quite restrictive. Polo shirt, school sweatshirt & trousers/shorts. My DD can choose a checked summer dress or top/skirt combo, or the school polo shirt with a grey skirt, trousers, shorts or culottes, she can wear a sweatshirt or cardigan. She almost has too many choices for school wear.

She 'expresses her individuality' by wearing inappropriately coloured socks, hair bands etc. and chooses her own clothes after school and at the weekend. Given what she often chooses I am glad that I don't have the battle of "you're not wearing THAT!" every morning before school.

Uniform is brilliant and I agree that it is a leveller, not just economically and socially, but also from a fashion POV, some kids will always find a way to stand out, but worrying about fashion has no place in primary school.

I prefer school uniforms, because paradoxically it can allow children to be more who they are.

DS2 is 9 and a little bit eccentric. At weekends he likes to wear shirts and bow ties, like the Doctor. He also wears a straw trilby. If he could get away with wearing this to school he would undoubtedly be bullied terribly by the football shirt wearing majority for "not fitting in". School uniform protects him from this.

MuddlingMackem Thu 18-Jul-13 10:50:44

StarBallBunny Fri 12-Jul-13 23:56:46

>>>> Sadly neither of my two would wear boys shoes. <<<<

Whilst we're paying ours doesn't have a say in it. When she's paying she can wear what she likes. grin

AcrylicPlexiglass Sat 20-Jul-13 19:23:38

I was non-uniform throughout school and would have been utterly horrified at the idea of wearing one. Didn't have any major problems with choosing clothes or teasing and they were both socially mixed schools, secondary in particular. I was not a fashionable sort of kid really either. Had quite idiosyncratic tastes- went through quite a long phase of refusing to wear anything that wasn't green in early teens, for instance. blush My children have all been uniform throughout so far (primary school main colour green, I'm happy to say!) and at primary level it's been ok as small children look pretty cute whatever they wear, I think, even hideous grey polyester.

But my sons really do look pretty awful in their secondary uniform, I have to say, especially a few weeks into term when the shirts start to grey and stains and holes appear. The uniform is very bog standard but sadly doesn't suit either of them and they look so much nicer at weekends. I think maybe gawky gangling spotty teenagers just look better in their own stuff. I also find it quite stressful making them get their uniform together, trying to whiten the said greying shirts, having to buy horrible but not cheap leather shoes they don't like at short notice because the old ones wear out etc etc etc. Having said all this, they seem pretty defiantly free thinking so if uniform is there to crush their individuality it has failed.

BirdyBedtime Sun 21-Jul-13 20:55:15

Quite surprised at the comments about uniform being cheaper. DDs school has uniform sweatshirt that's £12 whereas a cardi from Asda is £5. If you need 2or 3that‘s a significant difference if money is tight.

mrz Mon 22-Jul-13 08:56:41

Our school uniform is a blue jumper/sweatshirt/cardigan and a white polo shirt (girls can wear a blue & white dress in the summer if they wish) we don't stipulate where they are purchased ... so as cheap or as expensive as parents choose/can afford.

Schmedz Mon 22-Jul-13 12:05:19

Love uniform, even though it often is more expensive than just buying a set of clothing that can be worn every single day. Don't fancy and don't have time or energy for daily arguments with my ASD DD over why she shouldn't wear shorts and a Tshirt in the middle of winter.....
She accepts rules about uniform remarkably well and is proud of hers and the fact that it associates her with her school, which she loves.

Also glad for uniform as we can't afford the designer labels the majority of her classmates have (so lack of iPad, fancy mobile phone, expensive holidays are the only differences now wink). Uniform or not, actually children will always find differences between themselves... Like teacher says, uniform can help create a feeling of community but is certainly not the only contributor to that.

BabiesAreLikeBuses Mon 22-Jul-13 12:08:14

Op i am confused about you linking wearing uniform to repeating what they have been told and rote learning. Unless your children time travel daily to a Victorian school you won't find much of this!
I never wore a school uniform as the school said it restricted our freedom of thought... It was awful, i was one of the kids who couldn't afford designer labels and didn't have a great sense of which colours went together well and was picked on for it. Besides, there's a great sense of wanting to fit in as a teen - so we all wore jeans, doc marten boots (showing my age) and goth style hoodies. So that we were individual, just like everyone else hmm
Ds and dd wear a strict uniform. Am relieved dd only has to choose her hairstyle (ten mins a day) as i have to get her up early to choose clothes on non uniform days and she often wears 4 changes of clothes at the weekend. No prob with the weather either - ds has to wear shorts year round but doesn't notice the temperature or mind and i haven't had to rebuy either clothes or shoes since september.

hatsybatsy Mon 22-Jul-13 13:03:41

OP - are you sedning your kid to a steiner school by any chance? you seem very sure of yourself and your choices and I've heard that sort of thing from other Steiner parents.

My kids both wear uniform - an easy practical one. I'm all for it - I have a very fashion conscious 6 year old and getting her to wear something appropriate to school every day would be a nightmare.

Neither of my children are automatons - both question pretty much everything all the time. (don't all small children?)

cory Tue 23-Jul-13 18:16:28

Am I the only one wondering how easy it is going to be for the OP's dc to express their own individualism and freedom of thought in the face of such a very positive and self-assured mother?

What's the betting that falling in with the family views will count as being individualistic and free thinking and that choosing to agree with anybody outside, particularly somebody in authority, will be a sign of having turned into a sheep?

I had hints of this in my own family, though nothing as bad as this, just a very strong feeling of "our way is the right way". It has not done me much good in life. My teen dd laughs at me because I still find it so difficult to do anything that goes against the way "we" did things.

keepsmiling12345 Tue 23-Jul-13 19:08:06

Good point cory.

mathanxiety Tue 27-Aug-13 06:46:40

The DCs have gone to both uniform and non-uniform schools, quite homogenous primary (RC, and uniform) and huge, very diverse secondary (non uniform). We all preferred the non-uniform. It may be hard to imagine, but having no uniform means the focus on clothes and how people stand out from each other evaporates. Everyone looks different from everyone else. Nobody stands out as being more different or less different. Everyone moves on with their lives and gets over themselves and their appearance. As aaabbbccc said, no brand one-upping, even among young teens.

Children who would make a massive song and dance about getting out to school in civvies would soon learn to relax and just throw on whatever came to hand if they had to make the effort every single day. Either that or they would get organised about it and plan their outfits. Parents wouldn't buy things that weren't 'appropriate for school' either.

You can create a sense of everyone belonging without a uniform. It doesn't take a massive amount of time or effort. I think there is a tendency to see the uniform as short for 'We all belong' and for an administration to therefore sit back, surrounded by the sea of uniformed pupils, and believe that since everyone looks the same all is well in their little realm.

My niece goes to a private school with a complex and expensive uniform -- the school lacks any sense of community, communication between teachers, principal and parents is woeful (for instance, new parents are not told what constitutes a half day - you have to find out through the grapevine when you should pick your child up). This is a very prestigious school in Dublin where girls' names are put on a waiting list for admission the day they are born, or the day a scan indicates it's a girl. The DCs' school had both a uniform and a great sense of belonging, or community -- all down to elements of the school life outside of the uniform. Their secondary education in a school with no uniform was marked by a strong sense of community -- because it was such a huge and diverse school administrators put a lot of thought into community forming. If you rely on the uniform alone you are probably not going to succeed.

mathanxiety Tue 27-Aug-13 07:00:38

Of course if this is a Waldorf-Steiner uniform-free school the moulding of young minds to conform will be far more subtle and actually will go far deeper than anything in the sausage factory style schools the OP is jousting against. Ironic, if this is in fact the case.

Bonsoir Tue 27-Aug-13 07:22:43

I think that a school uniform is one small element of a school's disciplinary code. As such, some schools require a much tighter uniform than others.

I have no doubt that the schools that are the most intellectually and emotionally evolved have the least stringent uniform requirement.

DalekInAFestiveJumper Tue 27-Aug-13 07:50:37

I'm from the US. Uniforms are becoming more popular here, but the overwhelming majority of schools in the US are non-uniform. It does not seem to me that we are more 'free thinking' than the UK is.

nooka Tue 27-Aug-13 08:04:01

I hated having to wear uniform at secondary school (although I disliked my mum not buying me uniform at primary too). The uniform was badly made, ugly and uncomfortable and has left me pretty much hating blue. I also think uniform creates totally unnecessary problems between enforcing teachers and pupils. It's just a part of what makes being a child feel very unfair at times. Funny how with younger children people talk about 'picking your battles' and yet for teenagers schools choose to create completely artificial ones. Bizarre really.

My children go to a non uniform school now and I've just been out to buy them their post summer clothes. I bought new jeans and nerdy t-shirts/hoodies for dd and a pair of purple trainers. ds has bought some very interesting cyan and purple trainers and bright tops (last year he was fully in sludge). I like that they both feel they can express themselves and no one will bat an eyelid (or no one that they care about anyway).

Stuffing nursery age children into shirt and tie type uniforms has always seemed particularly sad to me, I think it's more about school branding than anything else when it comes to four year olds.

mathanxiety Tue 27-Aug-13 18:48:42

Bonsoir, that is an interesting comment. From what I have seen in the US, uniforms including tie and blazer and smart khaki pants tend to crop up in all-boy schools set up to be non-failing alternatives to state schools. They are also used in areas where gang activity makes the clothes and headgear you wear a significant choice. Also in elementary schools where academic achievement has been poor and discipline a challenge.

The more middle class and motivated a student body and the safer the neighbourhood the more you are likely to find the schools have no uniform and maybe a very basic code (no nudity, no see-through clothes, no swimsuits, no head covering in school, no body parts from collarbone to start of legs displayed through cutouts, no flip flops, no offensive slogans or symbols displayed on clothing - offensive under categories such as racism, sexism, ethnic or religious intolerance).

Nooka -- my mum sent us to the school she chose (having given up on the local National School that had no uniform due to massive overcrowding) based on the uniform, which she thought very distinguished. Looking back, a red v-neck sweater and red tie might not have been the best choice for a primary school in Ireland, where so many children have red hair and pink/freckled faces. The uniform continued to secondary but the tie was dropped. Ties in primary had to be tied, no elastic allowed. I learned this life skill (so important to women the world over) at age 5.

What I really needed was lessons in how to apply makeup but makeup was completely verboten, as were high heels, and funny enough those two elements featured prominently in my list of things that caused me angst as a young woman in the world of work. My uniform and the regulations on appearance prepared me for life as a nun. Worse, being forced to accept the constant comments on appearance from teachers, nuns, etc., went a long way towards conditioning me as a girl to accept that other people had a right to comment, judge, remark upon and correct your appearance. It's quite a boundary infraction.

I noticed even in the DCs' primary school (a school with good points too numerous to list) that when it came to field trips to a play or an opera when the DCs were supposed to wear their own choice of clothes, the policing of what the girls wore was far more in evidence than policing of what the boys wore. One teacher in particular was downright neurotic about clothing and notorious for calling mothers on field trip days (never fathers) and insisting they bring something 'more appropriate' for their DD. She sent out a list of banned clothing styles and footwear, with a drawing of what was considered acceptable. It was laughable. The kind of outfit she wanted girls to wear was basically the uniform, but in different colours. Most mothers told her where to get off, that they were at work just as she was.

nooka Tue 27-Aug-13 18:57:26

I agree girls are generally more policed than boys. Even at my children's non uniform school with a code much as you describe dd gets more grief than ds ever did, and she is generally much more suitably dressed than he has even been.

She got most peeved on a recent school trip that the girls were not allowed to wear bikinis/tankinis to swim, or only with a (non white) t-shirt, whilst the boys had no swimsuit guidance and all were (obviously) top less.

My big sister had the pleasure of a bright pink school uniform (with red and white stripy tie too!). However I can't say that the pin stripes and wing collar uniform didn't influence my choice of where to go for sixth form blush

nooka Tue 27-Aug-13 19:00:05

Both dh and I went the other way really though. I am inclined to total scruffiness whilst dh has a serious authority problem (has been a real issue at work) acquired from stupid fights about the length of his hair etc.

Nicky898 Sat 07-Sep-13 13:37:34

Have no idea what you are referring to by "conditioned to obey" my 15 year old is at Rugby, and she would treat this comment with derision! As for the uniform, you may know that girls wear a box pleat skirt which touches the ground, and a sports jacket and bouse/shirt in a pastel colour. I initially thought such would be a problem to overcome but was very quickly educated out of that notion. The girls are fiercely supportive of the uniform, and whereas most girls wearing school skirts roll them up at the waist band (for obvious reasons) Rugbians tend to focus in making the skirt sweep the ground. I really think the OP is speaking from an idealogical standpoint (no harm in that) but unsupported by any real experience. Both my daughters wore their uniforms with pride and there is no way they were ever expected to conform to mindless rules. A full set of uniform, including sports kit, can easily top £700, but the school is keen to reduce the cost wherever possible and stocks uniform and allows resale of outgrown items. My daughter gave away her place at grammar school to go to indy and has never looked back. She is far more wise and knowledgable than I was at her age, and mixes very comfortably with a wide range of boys and girls from diverse backgrounds; some wealthy and some who are "hard up" - I count myself in the latter!

Doubletroublemummy2 Thu 10-Oct-13 09:33:36

All I can say is that you show very little understanding of what goes on in an average primary school. Your options, either educate yourself better so your statements/choices are better informed. Or continue with your judgmental ignorance, but accept when people slam you down for it. Silly girl.

luckystarshine Mon 18-Nov-13 10:25:32

I personally prefer my children wearing a school uniform as it saves me some valued time in the morning without the arguments of "i dont want to wear this today", "Can i wear this instead"- "But my friends all wear these ones" etc!
Uniforms look smart and are very practical and you do not have to worry about the children ruining them as much as their best clothes.
It also gives the childrem less time to worry about what they wear and more time to concentrate on their studies. I have enough arguments about what pencil case, lunch box, umbrellas the other children have and how "theirs are better"more expensive etc! also which parents are wealthier, own a boat, horses and so on..
School uniforms are Great! and gives parents and children one less thing to worry about.
As for individuality i think children discover this through art, creative play and forming friendships and they have plenty of time to choose their clothes after school and at the weekends.

luckystarshine Mon 18-Nov-13 10:36:37

Also, when there is a non-uniform day, disco etc, i find that most of the children discuss what they will be wearing and many turn up dressed the same as they copy each other which takes away their individuality anyway with peer pressure.

cory Tue 19-Nov-13 08:40:49

Do zombies wear uniform? I suppose they do look rather like another...

cloudskitchen Tue 19-Nov-13 09:33:57

Uniforms are important. Whatever school you go to. There are always going to be people from all walks of life. Even in independent schools. There are always going to be kids that come from more affluent families that can afford designer this that and the other and those that can barely afford the basics. I don't want my kids feeling superior to other children because of what they wear and vice versa. I also hate to think of children from poorer families being teased or bullied because they don't "fit it" uniform removes all of this.

luckystarshine Tue 19-Nov-13 20:38:53

completley agree, cloudskitchen.

Ingrid1964 Thu 26-Dec-13 01:44:40

Dead simple............all character flows from self discipline: the independent learner, a work ethic, personal integrity.....You cannot develop self discipline in an ill disciplined environment. The seemingly small matters, including school uniform. It is part of the creation of a disciplined environment, within which we can create independent character.

vociferous Fri 27-Dec-13 07:51:15

My Oldest DS now 25 had a nice maroon round neck sweatshirt with school logo on and white polo shirt at his village primary school. He then had a Royal blue round neck sweatshirt with school logo on and white polo shirt with school logo on. (Will leave you all to guess what South Cambridgeshire village we live in!) My youngest DS just started at the same secondary school and loves wearing a sweatshirt and polo shirt. He finds it more relaxing to wear and seems to feel more comfortable wearing it. I'd hate for him to have to wear the whole blazer, shirt and tie caboodle that I had to wear some years ago. I think it also looks much better than the more formal shirt and tie uniform!

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