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School Uniforms Are They Important?

(138 Posts)
KarenIsabella Fri 12-Jul-13 12:16:59

My child is just about to start nursery in at an independent school where children are not required to wear a school uniform and I just want to air my thoughts about this topic after various discussions with friends and collegues.

For me it is important that children be free from the constraints and ideas imposed by others and nurtured to develop their own ideas and ideals. I am all for children looking nice and smart but what is the real purpose of the school uniform? Really it’s the removal of a person’s individuality and free thinking.

This can be seen in the military where individualism and willfulness is seen as a negative thing! In these organisations uniforms are given a very high importance and any deviation from the prescribed uniform is a serious issue.

Individuals are not welcome in the military, perhaps they are scared that if military people realised that war was not a good idea they would abandon the organisation!

So all in all uniforms are really a form of control, is that what we want our children? Preparing them from an early age to have no personality, no freedom of thought or individualism is not for me.

mummytime Fri 12-Jul-13 17:40:05

No! No! No!
Children in school need shoes which protect their toes. Lots of things can be dropped on feet, and other children are very good at standing on feet.

A lot of work places wouldn't allow Teeshirt, shorts and Sandals as a dress code either. Although most Primaries around here have polo-shirts, and most secondaries have a summer uniform of house polo-shirts.

imademarion Fri 12-Jul-13 17:49:00

Really it’s the removal of a person’s individuality and free thinking.

My DC wear uniform and there is nothing homogenous about their thinking or personalities.

One school I attended in Europe had a no-uniform policy and the pupils were uniformly obsessed with designer labels and vodka.

I think it's naive to place so much importance on what they wear; what they learn and how they think will prove more important in the long run.

clam Fri 12-Jul-13 17:52:07

Slightly off-track - we had a child who was sent in to school wearing flipflops ffs this week, as the mum said she'd hurt her toe. Child was running round a corner, (toe had clearly stopped hurting by then), tripped over and landed face-first in a wall, chipping her front tooth in half.

Scarletbanner Fri 12-Jul-13 18:04:37

I'm not sure what the point of this thread is. OP doesn't like uniform so has chosen a school which doesn't have a uniform. So that's nice. Not sure why it matters that other schools and other parents make different choices.

We have just moved house and dc have moved from a school which did have uniform to one which doesn't. I wish the new school did too, but it wasn't so important to me to make me choose a different school. It really wasn't that big a deal compared to other factors.

Schmedz Fri 12-Jul-13 20:18:16

As a teacher from a school who regularly credit our 5 and 6 year old children with the ability to catch public transport for school trips I can tell you that a uniform is particularly useful when visiting busy public places with large groups of young children ( and ironically the H&S hi-vis jackets tend to obscure these when at events involving many schools but that is another thread topic...)

Please add me to the 'giggle brigade of people' who find the idea of equating the wearing of uniform with restriction of free thought and enquiry absolutely ludicrous! Assuming OP won't be voting Conservative at the next election smile

horsetowater Fri 12-Jul-13 20:22:58

There is no evidence to prove that school uniform makes children work better or behave better. It can prevent gang problems after school but that's about it really.

I think it takes so much away from young people and that reflects on adults too. We don't see their individuality as much. I'm against it myself but there are thousands that will argue in favour.

lljkk Fri 12-Jul-13 21:29:17

DD is an ultra-competitve 11yo fashionista & she thinks uniform is brill. it takes away a huge amount of peer pressure about getting her look right. I think my teen DS has same problem, he just doesn't need that extra pressure to get it right.

That said I don't much see the point below around yr3.

MuddlingMackem Fri 12-Jul-13 21:59:54

StarBallBunny Fri 12-Jul-13 17:21:47

>>>> Girls school shoes are stupid. <<<<

Yes, they are. Which is why we buy boys' school shoes for our daughter. And why the parents of one of her classmates have now also gone for boys shoes after having umpteen pairs of girls shoes trashed.

rhetorician Fri 12-Jul-13 22:04:05

Don't live in uk, and most primary schools here do have uniform. DD will be starting after the summer and won't have uniform. This feels right in terms of the ethos of the school, but I wouldn't attach any great meaning to it myself. Other things seem much more important.

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 12-Jul-13 22:53:10

I wouldn't send my children to a private school without uniform. It's bad enough on non uniform day st my childtens prep with everyone comparing designer brands.

The talk in the last few weeks of ye 6 was which designer bag they were having for secondary - juniors had been regulation logo and even underwear is jack wills.

LynetteScavo Fri 12-Jul-13 23:00:31

I don't really care either way at primary age. I didn't wear a uniform until I was 12. I can see an advantage at secondary school)

Mind you, I do like a straw boater, and if there was a state school near me with boaters in the uniform, I would be very tempted to move house. wink

LynetteScavo Fri 12-Jul-13 23:01:31

Talking of designer bags, I think if secondary schools have a uniform, they may as well include uniform bags and coats.

NoComet Fri 12-Jul-13 23:56:14

At the moment DD2 has brogues, which are fairly sensible.

However, the normal ballet pumps are totally unsuitable for our rural lane. It may only be 20m to the bus stop, but the junction floods.

DD1 wears, Clarks ultra comfy Mary Janes that I'm sure are made for grannies. She'd be way happier in ankle boots. Heaven knows why they can't wear them, Perfectly smart with black trousers.

Mind you anything is smarter than two week old, Primark ballet pumps.

NoComet Fri 12-Jul-13 23:56:46

Sadly neither of my two would wear boys shoes.

mixedmamameansbusiness Sat 13-Jul-13 19:53:53

Honestly I had a uniform at both primary and secondary. I am an individual and always have been. I really think it is an overstatement when people say that it stifles individualism etc.

My own DC go to a non-uniformed school which is not our closest (which does have uniform) - they go there because we felt that it would provide them with the best education not because of what they can wear to school. Personally the uniform debate is an on the fence one for me. If our school introduces it I will buy it and they will wear it but will be the same lovely children gaining a rich and varied education at a lovely school.

Morgause Sat 13-Jul-13 20:07:11

I'm a former teacher and I am implacably opposed to school uniform.

Our choice of secondary school for our DSs was limited to schools with no uniforms. The school we and they chose had a dress code but no uniform and we were all happy with the choice. Sadly, since their time the head has given in to parental pressure and introduced a school uniform.

As a teacher I had far better things to do than check what students were wearing. Not my job.

As a grammar school girl I was forced to wear school uniform and a lot of us spent a considerable amount of time and energy trying to subvert the rules and nothing has changed since then.

In my experience a lot of parents want a school uniform because they are afraid to say no to what their children want to wear and want the school to do it for them. Lazy parenting, imo.

FormaLurka Sat 13-Jul-13 20:59:35

My DD and her mates are into Jack Wills, Hollister and Abercrombie. Thank God she spends the bulk of her time wearing a uniform. Forget about it being cheaper of the two, can you imagine the effort required to get dressed on a school day?

MrsOakenshield Sat 13-Jul-13 21:23:05

that's an interesting point, Morgause - how much time to staff have to spend policing uniform? Surely an utter waste of their time and training.

I remember having to man the corridors at school (senior) telling people to pull their socks up and tuck their shirt in - who cares??? Given that I have never worked anywhere that has a dress code, I do wonder what on earth the point was. And as for girls wearing ties (do they do this any more?) - why?????

MarianForrester Sat 13-Jul-13 23:00:05

They are important to support the polyester industry and the manufacturers of child sized old people's elastic waisted black trousers.

Without the demands of school uniform, these poor companies may not have a business at all

neverputasockinatoaster Sat 13-Jul-13 23:15:58

On the one hand I hate school uniform - DD has sensory issues and getting her into the winter uniform for her school is a living hell....

BUT she loves the summer uniform and it means I can buy 5 identical items of clothing and it won't be deemed odd.....

I teach and the school I work in has a very simple uniform - polo shirts and sweatshirts. I think that's OK as it means the good stuff doesn't get trashed!

TheBuskersDog Sun 14-Jul-13 09:59:58

Yet another thread that will end up with lots of people who have never had children at a non-uniform school telling us about how it leads to competitive dressing etc., no it doesn't because it is normal and not like non-uniform days in a school with uniform.

Regarding the OP, seriously you are over thinking the whole issue - you obviously believe in your military analogy and that's fine but you do come across as a bit evangelical. I assure you children in schools with uniform do not feel oppressed by it and I would say most don't even give it a thought, they all remain individuals.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 14-Jul-13 10:24:51

Thebuskersdog. - I went to a non uniform school. It was awful for me (fab for those with fashion sense and who wore the right brands) but awful for me.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 14-Jul-13 10:26:32

They introduced uniform when iwas in 5th year (yr 11) and I had one lovely year of normality.

FannyMcNally Sun 14-Jul-13 10:34:41

Personality is not defined by clothes! What a weird op confused. Our children's personalities and idiosyncrasies shine through precisely because they are all wearing the same thing. And at our infant school it is not 'freedom of thought' being crushed it's 'parents' obsessions with labels and cuteness' that are being crushed thankfully.

You'll be starting on behaviour consequences next. Why not HE?

Morgause Sun 14-Jul-13 15:57:21

Buskersdog, I did feel very much oppressed in my uniform school. That's one of the reasons I'm so anti now.

Mrs Oakenshield, We were supposed to take one turn a week supervising children in and out of assembly to ensure they were in uniform and wearing it correctly. Class teachers were also supposed to check at the beginning of the day. I preferred to use that time to hear my slower readers and give them some extra time.

It led to difficulties for families who couldn't always afford to replace outgrown or damaged uniform items and bullying of those children "incorrectly dressed". Some nasty little scroats took great delight in ratting on their classmates.

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