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to think that the rules around changing for PE are unfair?

(74 Posts)
olgafromthevolga Mon 25-Mar-13 13:46:49

DS2 is in Y6, and when it comes to PE, the rule is that girls get changed in the classroom and the boys get changed in the corridor. No-one is allowed into the classroom until all of the girls are changed and no-one is allowed to look through the window. However, anyone who wants to can walk down the corridor, and the girls are allowed to leave the classroom and go into the corridor as soon as they are changed. Now I have no issue with DS2 being spotted in his undercrackers, but it does seem to me that there is a bit of an indefensible double standard going on here. Is this kind of thing normal procedure?

heidipi Mon 25-Mar-13 15:20:42

ICBINEG but if none of us should be shy around nudity then adults should all get changed together as well, and we don't - at least not at any of the sports centres, gyms, clothes shops etc I've been in. Kids are used to separate male and female changing when they go swimming, so why is school different?

olgafromthevolga Mon 25-Mar-13 15:25:40

Hmm, interesting. I think I am in the camp of thinking that separating them makes sense. However, I think the no-peeking rule should apply equally to both, and I'm not sure how the boys can be expected to respect the girls privacy if privacy is a concept that doesnt seem to apply to the boys. Just because there is a reality that things arent equal doesnt mean we should accept it. Of course, I dont have daughters, so my perspective may be a little skewed.

somewhereaclockisticking Mon 25-Mar-13 16:48:30

I think girls need their privacy but I disagree with the boys being put into the corridor. Boys also have fears about their bodies and can be shy - I don't have any boys but I have friends with boys who have had issues with their bodies.

SquinkieBunnies Mon 25-Mar-13 16:51:35

I don't really see why they are changing at all. They just wear pumps for school on PE day here and do it in their normal clothes, everyone wears leggings, shirts, jeans and those in skirts usually have bike shorts underneath.
It can't be because they get hot as we live in a place where summer is upper 30's with a week or two of 40 thrown in. No one died from doing it in normal clothes and the teacher just reminds everyone to add some deodorant before they start out.
But the classroom is stinky on hot days anyway just from normal playtime, so PE adds nothing much to the smell.

Madamecastafiore Mon 25-Mar-13 16:56:49

YABU. Boys keep shirt on whip of trousers, replace with shorts and then whip off top and put on sports top. Completely acceptable for boys to be seen with just shorts on. At no time should anything be seen which should embarrass boys.

Girls otoh have to remove top and replace with PE shirt to cover breasts or at the very least nipples, as would be covered if say at the beach or pool, society seems it right to have bare chested boys running around in year 6 but not bare chested girls.

IloveJudgeJudy Mon 25-Mar-13 17:26:22

YABU. I teach part-time in a pretty small school and already 2 girls in Y5 have started their periods. Girls have much more need for privacy than boys (have 2 boys, 1 girl myself), but I do see your point that no-one should be allowed out into the corridor until everyone is changed (or at least no girls from the class).

CasperGutman Mon 25-Mar-13 17:32:19

It's not just in schools that there's a difference in the levels of privacy afforded to the genders. At the health club place where we go swimming the female showers have curtains, the men's don't. It's the way of the world.

It wouldn't seem unreasonable for the girls to stay in the classroom until the boys have finished changing though.

Alohomora Mon 25-Mar-13 17:38:00

I have to admit I've never gone to a school that didn't have changing rooms for PE (am originally from Germany, even my first primary school with two tiny classrooms had changing rooms) but I think it's reasonable to expect the girls to wait in the classroom until everyone has changed, and not be allowed to walk past the boys while they have their trousers round their ankles.

It's not like it would take any extra consideration or cost, and it would be more equal.

LibertineLover Mon 25-Mar-13 17:44:53

I think if the corridor is the only place for the boys to change (why not the toilets?) then no, the girls should not be allowed out of the classroom.
My DS is only in reception, but is already conscious if someone else is in the house to shut his bedroom door getting changed, we teach our children to respect their bodies, and no one should come in their safe space, so to leave boys open in this way is disrespectful of their feelings.

WeAllHaveWings Mon 25-Mar-13 17:44:58

Agree girls develop faster than boys and need privacy, but yhink generally girls are also more aware of boys bodies too and more likely to make comments.

I recently had my ds(9) at swimming when some girls from his class were there too. He didn't really notice or bother with the fact the girls were in little bikini's, but at school on Monday he was embarrassed as the girls kept telling everyone they had seen him in his swimming trunks (they were complimentary, but it still embarrassed him).

IMO both genders should be allowed to change separately from each other without intrusion.

LibertineLover Mon 25-Mar-13 17:46:10

madame they would be in their pants at some point, not naked, admittedly, but why should they feel vulnerable at all?

MandragoraWurzelstock Mon 25-Mar-13 17:51:37

It's far from ideal but I agree they should have separate changing areas and the boys need something better than a corridor.

Squinkie, it gets warm here too, I live in California and there is no school gym at my kids' old school so they do PE outside. They run around and get hot and sweaty at lunch and break and don't change clothes. School clothes/shoes should be suitable for running and climbing and jumping and whatever else.

Parents who have kids at schools that change for PE, do they change for lunch and breaks too?

manicinsomniac Mon 25-Mar-13 17:56:38

mumsneedwine a third of Y6 have their period in your DD's school?! shock That seems so high to me! Does anyone know if this is the norm? I've taught Y5 and 6 for 6 years and, as far as I know, have only come across 3 children starting their periods.

As for the original question YANBU. It is far too late for school to be teaching children that girls and boys can change together and shouldn't be embarrassed, society has already taught them that they can't change in front of a boy/girl and schools just have to deal with it now. The corridor is ridiculous ehough as it is but, if it has to happen, the girls could at least wait in the corridor.

Where I work the children go into the changing rooms every time they need to change, I've never known children of either gender to strip off in the classroom!

SnotMeReally Mon 25-Mar-13 17:56:46

I have a Y6 daughter - she and a couple of her friends are well developed for their age - and unfortunately it is true that the majority of the boys are much less physically and emotionally mature - so yes, of course these girls are a bit embarrassed of being gawped at and silly comments about bums and boobs. They are not allowed to change separately - all must change in the classroom together - hence the girls have become skilled at changing sitting on a chair and under the cover of some of their clothing and making themselves human shields for each other.

My older DD has just started her periods, lots of leakages, accidents due to her inexperience and getting used to things, so her knicks are often stained or splashed - I am so glad DD2 has not started at primary. it would be excruciatingly embarrassing for her.

It is not about shame or thinking bodies are something to be embarrased of, it is about privacy.

I parade about starkers at home, but I would not do it in public.

TumbleWeeds Mon 25-Mar-13 18:00:32

Rather than teaching them that all bodies are ok by getting changed together (which tbh isn't going to happen. It's more likely that some of the girls are going to be teased about having periods etc...) I would prefer them to be taught RESPECT. Respect for the need of privacy when getting changed for both sex.
Except that it is clear that no one thinks that boys need more privacy than what the school offers. After all at worst they are in their pants, not dissimilar than a swimming trunk.
Whereas girls need more privacy thanks to growing bodies, periods and the fact that, as a society, a girl or woman in underwear is something to be looked at whereas a boy in pants isn't.

shewhowines Mon 25-Mar-13 18:11:39


The teacher is not necessarily told. My dd and quite a few of her friends started early but the teacher wouldn't have known.

IME it is staffing issues and supervision issues that mean the boys get the corridor.

In the Uk it is the norm to change for PE and most primary schools don't have proper changing rooms. They don't change for lunch and breaks. I see your point.

Osmiornica Mon 25-Mar-13 18:11:58

I'm quite amazed that people think year 6 is young to start periods. Lots of girls in my school (including me) started in primary school between 9 and 11.

mumsneedwine Mon 25-Mar-13 18:31:02

My Dd hasn't told her teacher, and neither have her friends. He's a man and they are too embarrassed. Much as I think he should know, it's her call and her body. Out of 30 girls she says 13 have started so I was pretty accurate. Her boobs are huge and she is skinny and very conscious of any boys seeing her bra. Some of her friends are still flat as pancakes and less worried about whipping off tops. I am sure if any boys saw her in undies and went home and told parents, the school would be in trouble for letting the boy see what is pretty much a fully grown woman.
She is very sporty so always changing for sports and is very adept at changing inside her clothes.

thebody Mon 25-Mar-13 18:31:45

It's perfectly normal and very commen now to start periods at 10 and 11.

My dds did snc they are tiny. Neatly all of their friends did as well.

No idea why a teacher would need to know though if they start at home unless of accidents.

I think both sexes deserve privacy and ghat their bodies are private.

That's good safeguarding.

They should change separately and be given privacy, not a corridor snc the girls should wait.

ProudAS Mon 25-Mar-13 19:09:46

SnotMeReally get your dd1 some black knickers. They don't show stains or splashes.

lljkk Mon 25-Mar-13 19:15:33

That's weird, when I was 11 (1979) hardly anyone started before 12. Now, the only girls we know who started periods age 10-11 are tall & rather plump. The tiniest girl in DD's yr kept claiming from age 8 that she had started already: finally confessed in y6 it was a lie.

I'm in the yabu camp. British are neurotic about covering up their bodies, anyway.

stressyBessy22 Mon 25-Mar-13 19:19:11

The median age for first period is just under 13 in the UK according to lots of websites I have looked at.
Environmental influences play a part egIn poor areas where girls are overweight , the average may be less than that

Euphemia Mon 25-Mar-13 19:26:45

why not the toilets?

Because they mess around with no supervision. Ditto changing rooms.

rufusnine Mon 25-Mar-13 19:26:57

ours is girls in library, boys in class room but this is only in Y5/6 (with the library being just a bit more private than the classroom)

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