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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...

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

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

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

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

The top performing school of 2012 is entirely non uniform

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quenelle: Hahahaha -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I totally agree with you OP.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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