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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

^ ^ that.

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

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

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

GwendolineMaryLacey Thu 31-Jan-13 09:03:52

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Differences in income are expressed in other ways

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Show personality through socks??

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

startail that is a very good point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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