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Uniforms in Primary Schools

(78 Posts)
GrumpyYoungFogey Sun 01-Nov-09 21:31:37

I know this has almost certainly been done before but the search feature on MN is not that great, or else (more likely) I am too dim to use it.

Being a child of the 1980s, I naturally grew up with no school uniform in the infants, and a rather loosely defined one in the juniors, which was only compulsory on the usual special days (photos, trips, that sort of thing).

So when did the practice of putting 4 year olds in grey pants and skirts and identical badged jumpers and shirts come in? How many infant schools are left that don't insist on this regimentation?

For me, the worst thing about it is how scruffy uniforms are, being nearly always based on polo shirts and sweatshirts, the effect of which is to make the kids look like they are working in a DIY superstore of for a firm of plumbers. Then there are those schools that go that bit extra and add trackie pants (for boys and girls) to the ensemble. Yuk!

I do my bit to undermine the concept by refusing to buy the official badged things and instead send the kids off in knitted jumpers and cardies in approximately the right colour. The net consequence being they stand out from their classmates by actually being smart!

But really, is there any campaign out there against uniforms, particularly for under sevens?

onepieceoflollipop Sun 01-Nov-09 21:35:08

Legally afaik there is no such thing as "compulsory" uniform in state primary schools.

fwiw I can see the advantages and disadvantages of uniform. Yes the colours are drab, usually. However on the whole (imo) it makes it easier for the dcs to fit in.

Personally I choose not to send my dcs in slightly different options. This is probably because as a child we had very little money in our family and I hated looking different to the other children (through primary and secondary school) Imo even infant school children notice if they look different to the others. Fair enough if there is genunine financial hardship, obviously.

MaureenMLove Sun 01-Nov-09 21:35:39

I always wore a school uniform and I go back further than being an 80's child.

I don't agree that kids look scruffy or like a DIY Store worker either. I think the majority of primary school children look very smart indeed.

I would assume that when you signed your lo's up to that particular school, you knew there was a school uniform rule, so you should abide by them.

onepieceoflollipop Sun 01-Nov-09 21:35:59

p.s. in our area/city there are no schools that have trackie bottoms as uniform.

StephHaydock Sun 01-Nov-09 21:38:50

I absolutely love my DS's uniform. Black trousers (cheap from Tesco/Asda and wash well), a polo tee-shirt and a jumper (reasonably priced, comfy). I don't have to think about what he wears on a daily basis, but it is still comfy and practical (hate those stuffy private school uniforms). Who cares if it's 'scruffy'? They're kids.

Feelingsensitive Sun 01-Nov-09 21:39:05

I always wore a uniform and started primary in the 80's. I am with you on the tracksuit bottoms - I really don't like that. But otherwise I think its better all round. It stops differentiation between kids and makes the whole going to school in the morning thing a little less stressful. I don't know about any campaigns against uniforms - I suggest you google on that one.

preciouslillywhite Sun 01-Nov-09 21:41:15

I hate them. Utterly pointless and nasty.

LilyloovesGuyFawkes Sun 01-Nov-09 21:41:23

I like uniform , much less hassle getting dd ready in a morning when there is no choice.
I personally think they look smart in it.
(Never seen trackies as part of a uniform)

the39thstep Sun 01-Nov-09 21:42:10

I do actually agree about the creeping taking over of the logo'd polo shirt. It is particulary annoying because embroidered logo garments can't be passed on to charity shops etc. DH wears logo clothing for his job too, it seems to be the uniform of the 2000's for every walk of life.

I don't really like it but it does save choosing/abusing non-uniform clothes, and we just go with the flow. My DS's wear their clothes hard and I don't think they look particularly smart. But then school uniform rarely does look smart unless really rigidly defined and enforced (remembers own teenage rebellion of shapeless grey jumpers, not-really-tied tie and non conforming shoes grin).

Jamieandhismagictorch Sun 01-Nov-09 21:44:14

My own school had a uniform.

My DCs school has a uniform, but only on the top half. There is a badged option, but most don't bother and wear plain versions from high street shops. The children can (and do) express their individuality from the waist down, with quite funny results.

I think uniform is a good idea:

It's relatively cheap
Washes well
Avoids arguments about what to wear
Avoids issues about how well-off families are
Identifies children out on school trips

I don't really care whether they look smart or not, and am happy their uniform is comfortable.

MadameDuBain Sun 01-Nov-09 21:47:34

I hate uniform and think it's miserable to make a load of small children all look drab and the same. They don't seem to need it at all (even at secondary) in a lot of European schools (and they get better results too)

But I know I'm in a minority and most people love it.

One primary school near us even has in its literature something like "How we love to see the sea of blue polo shirts in assembly at the start of a new year" yuk. Why?

Jamieandhismagictorch Sun 01-Nov-09 21:47:48

It's ironic your argument against uniforms is that they don't look smart . Would you prefer blazers and hats ? grin

cat64 Sun 01-Nov-09 21:48:27

Message withdrawn

cherryblossoms Sun 01-Nov-09 21:50:33

I so agree with you.

Personally I see it as a sign of deep swing to conformity, another (late) reaction to the (perceived) experimentality of the 60s 70s and early 80s.

Uniforms are rubbish.

GrumpyYoungFogey Sun 01-Nov-09 21:51:05

What makes it worse, is that at the local secondaries - where kids are of an age where dress code is understandable - one sees veritable 13yr old girls in about an inch of pan-stick.

When did going to school like that and not getting sent home become acceptable?

cherryblossoms Sun 01-Nov-09 21:56:37

What's with my spelling and grammar tonight?


And I think it's a hidden irony that so many parents say they like it because it's smarter than non-uniform when, in fact, the end result is actually usually very scruffy.

I have a secret belief that the main proponents of school uniform are those parents who can't quite keep up with the Joneses when it comes to civvies for their dc BUT they get off on apeing the private school thing of school uniforms.

They're kidding themselves. Most state school uniforms look very messy.

I've nothing against messy and think keeping up with the Jones' is pointless. I've just noticed that there is often a hidden agenda in those I have met who shout loudest for a school uniform.

LynetteScavo Sun 01-Nov-09 22:00:35

Grumpy...I was shock to see girls caked in make up in the high school prospectuses I have been flicking through this year.

I'm neither here nor there on uniforms. ( I didn't wear on untill I was 12)Most nurseries around here have thier own polo shirts and Sweatshirts now. I think it startied with the private (adjoined to private schools) and has spread)

My bigest peeve with uniforms is girls with loose ties. Teh High schol near me now required pupils to wear clip on ties. grin

nighbynight Sun 01-Nov-09 22:02:13

Well I wish we had a uniform, and there is no hidden agenda - simply that I could only get my children into shiney teflon trousers (cheap! hardwearing!) if they were compulsory.
As we have no uniform, my boys wear stylish jeans to school (just like the other children), which tear at the knees every time they look at them.

Jamieandhismagictorch Sun 01-Nov-09 22:02:25

cherry sorry, it's not that at all ..... As i said, I don't care whether it's smart - cheap and comfortable means more to me.

preciouslillywhite Sun 01-Nov-09 22:04:09

I personally did fine with the experimental 70s, and so did most of my schoolfriends...

wish I could give the same to my dds instead of all this regimented crap sad

shockers Sun 01-Nov-09 22:04:52

Parents on low income get a uniform grant with the result that their children don't feel different from their peers. My primary school had optional uniform and I remember being so grateful to my Grandma when she took me out and bought me a uniform after I'd confessed that I always felt 'poor' at school. She did it every year after that...I miss her.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 01-Nov-09 22:05:16

If it's about individuality rather than conformity, wouldn't there be a stronger argument for it in secondary, where the children are more likely to choose their own clothes, then for the under 7s, who are dressed according to their parents' preferences.

preciouslillywhite Sun 01-Nov-09 22:06:42

I thought the low income grant only went to secondary age children, shockers, and that's why uniform can't be compulsory for primary kids?

Jamieandhismagictorch Sun 01-Nov-09 22:10:20

I think my children's individuality is fostered as much now than mine was in the 70s. They are encouraged to verbalise their thoughts and emotions much more at school, to speak and perform more and therefore be more confident.

OK, the curriculum is more rigid ...

I don't think unifom has anything to do with it

chickbean Sun 01-Nov-09 22:10:21

As someone who was bullied about what I wore out of school, school uniform was a godsend. My parents couldn't afford AND didn't want me wearing the latest fashions and at that point in my life I was not confident enough to be an individualist. Granted, this was at secondary school, but it seems that children are brand aware at a much younger age now.

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