Darell uniform consultation

(13 Posts)
Haberdashery Mon 03-Oct-11 18:24:32

Hi there. I'm a parent of a child in Darell reception. Today we got a letter home saying that Darell are thinking of introducing a uniform. What do you all think about this? I am broadly against it but I was wondering what other parents thought. One of the reasons I chose Darell was the non-uniform policy so I am a bit disappointed to hear that it may be introduced after all.

stepfordwife Tue 04-Oct-11 13:48:09

Hi Hab smile
funny I should see this as currently writing a stroppy reasoned letter on this very subject.
welcome to the school and very interesting that, as a new parent, one of the reasons you chose Darell is that it doesn't have a uniform - sure you are already, but please, please emphasise that on your response as the (weak IMHO) argument from some quarters is that parents are put off by not having a uniform.

I've got two children at Darell and my oldest left for secondary school this year. Like you, as well as the vibrant arts, nurturing environment and ethnic mix at the school, I liked its non-uniform policy.

But - if the majority of parents wanted a uniform, of course I'd accept that as that would be fair, I'm not convinced that's the case, though.
I am concerned about the way information is being presented and that it is not being framed in any context - which makes it pretty useless.

For instance, on the letter sent out it states the opinions of 14 prospective parents (hardly an exhaustive survey) saying why they chose not to send their child to Darell. Interesting that lack of uniform is mentioned first implying that this was the primary reason, That's how some people will read it and even at a sub-conscious level that's what will sink in as it's first on the list.

Maybe I'm wrong, but did parents (all 14 of them) really state the lack of uniform as being of more concern to them than Ofsted reports and standards? hmm.

Oh dear, you've opened up the floodgates now, better get back to my letter to the school grin

I really hope your child is enjoying Darell - it undeservedly gets flak at times. But it's done a great job with all three of my very different children.

Haberdashery Tue 04-Oct-11 14:39:32

I am also writing a stroppy letter! Want to share? I'll send you mine if you send me yours! It sounds like it might be quite a similar letter as I have focused on standards being the thing that really impresses parents and pointing out that if Darell children were achieving great things (in whatever area - and no doubt some of them are, as in any school) then I doubt very much that anyone would be bothered about a 'lack' of uniform! I have pointed out that I chose Darell partly because of this! They also talk about things like 'reputation' in the letter and I have pointed out that reputation is something that can only be built up over years and the quick fix option of a uniform is merely window-dressing. More politely than that, though.

I was also a bit rolly eyed about lack of uniform being first on the list. Do you think it's going too far to point out that the Sutton Trust consider a uniform as being one of the least effective ways to improve a school's performance?!

All my cousins went to Darell and seem to have done all right without uniforms. I went to a secondary school (one of the best in the country) without a uniform. I think the whole thing is ridiculous and I'm quite annoyed about it. So glad to hear that others also think it's silly. I started a thread in Primary Education about uniform and people are mainly saying they love it. But I feel quite sad about the idea of that lovely whirling mass of many-coloured children in the playground being reduced to an amorphous lump of grey and red or whatever.

I know a few of those parents who sent their children elsewhere (I am assuming it's parents of children who held out for a place in another school for their reception children) and it's true that many of them did not like the non-uniform policy. But they were way more concerned about standards and reputation. This is obviously anecdotal but no more so than the letter.

Haberdashery Tue 04-Oct-11 14:41:23

My daughter is loving Darell, btw. She has learnt to read nine words that she didn't know before over the past week and has made six new best friends. The best of both worlds.

Jenny70 Tue 04-Oct-11 18:00:14

Can I say we looked at Darell when we moved to the UK and the non-uniform policy did put us off. But agree it wasn't a deal breaker, there are so many factors in choosing a school that feels right for your child.

But if you polled prospective parents and they had to list 3-5 reasons they didn't choose it, I'd bet uniform would be up there. It may be wrong, but I think it does put off parents from choosing the school from other schools that are similar in other ways.


Haberdashery Tue 04-Oct-11 20:35:09

Do you mind me asking why in particular you wanted a uniform, Jenny? If there had been one, how much more likely would you have been to choose the school?

Kewcumber Tue 04-Oct-11 20:45:25

my son goes to a kew school with a (very simple) unform that even a total slattern like me can cope with. I wouldn't really have cared either way, it never struck me as a particularly big deal - its a sweatshirt and a pair of trousers not a straitjacket!

Practically I love it - stress levels of getting ready are really very low and it is hardwearing and doesn't require any thought (though thats probably steppies argument against! wink in the morning).

DS adores his uniform so its fine by me - am saving my rage for the catholic secondary proposal - in the grand scale of things it seems a bigger deal to get worked up about!

On the other hand all the chldren call the teachers by the first name including the head. I know some paretns who would have apoplexy, but against doesn;t seem a big deal to me - their attitude is far more important.

Haberdashery Tue 04-Oct-11 20:58:26

>> am saving my rage for the catholic secondary proposal

Oh, don't worry, I have plenty of spare rage left over for that!

Haberdashery Thu 06-Oct-11 22:00:32

Stepford, have you still got your letter? I received some interesting information today re bulge classes which were mentioned in the letter and wanted to check the wording the letter used. Unfortunately, I sent my letter and essay response back just before I got the email about the bulge classes. If you do still have your letter, would you mind very much PMing me?

Haberdashery Thu 06-Oct-11 22:00:56

[disorganised emoticon]

stepfordwife Fri 07-Oct-11 23:48:01

Hello. sorry went awol. been too busy writing stroppy well-informed letters and emailing governors
yes, hab, happy to show you mine if you show me yours! grin

sorry handed my consultation letter in, but will pm you if I find another one knocking around.

totally agree about being hmm about "lack" (note the negative word) of uniform being put first on the consultation letter as parents' reason not to send their child to Darell. of course it wasn't! It may have been ONE reason (and by how many of those 14 parents they're giving such import to) but above concerns about standards, ofsted reports (not that I set much store by them being largely based on attainment - a school like Darell with such a high proportion of children with English as a second language and SEN is never going to top exam league tables. shame those tables aren't based on what REALLY matters....ho-hum..sorry gone off-piste).

so kew - it's not solely about the uniform but how the information is being twisted unfairly presented that's the issue.

on a more positive note, i'm glad your daughter is settling in well, hab.

stepfordwife Sat 08-Oct-11 00:01:22

have PMd you, hab

Haberdashery Sat 08-Oct-11 21:38:27

Thanks so much. I've sent you a rant email back!

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