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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...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DreamsTurnToGoldDust Thu 31-Jan-13 10:34:22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This thread is making me change my mind

I am astonished.

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

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

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

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

Some points I'd like to pick up on:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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