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Girls not allowed to wear trousers to school? I thought we were in the 21st century?

(234 Posts)
TheYearOfTheCatMPADist Sun 21-Jun-09 23:38:21

My DD is due to start primary school in September. I have been reading through the school's info pack, and I am really surprised (and hacked off) that the school specifies for winter school uniform, girls must wear a skirt & tights, and not trousers. hmm

Is this normal? It seems so unnecessary. I can't really put into words how I feel, as it is pretty late, but it seems to be reinforcing gender stereotypes.

I am considering raising the issue with the head teacher, but would appreciate any views.

Doodle2u Sun 21-Jun-09 23:41:10

Oddly enough, I was reading a news story the other day about a school who were considering making trousers compulsary and banning skirts!

SlartyBartFast Sun 21-Jun-09 23:44:04

no trousers?
that is unusual

mummywilldrive Sun 21-Jun-09 23:49:53

Wow very unusual and I thought they couldn't stop them wearing trousers now. If it was my dd1's school she just wouldn't go, she refuses to wear skirts or dresses in ay shape or form. She's the only girl in the whole school who goes in in trousers and a polo shirt on a hot summers day. All the other girls are wearing summer dresses.

I would definately take it up with head.

TheYearOfTheCatMPADist Sun 21-Jun-09 23:51:01

It just seems so wrong to foist such a visible division on children.

A good friend is in the police, and up until 10 years ago, she had to wear skirts and tan coloured tights, even in the depths of winter. It made chasing criminals pretty difficult, and was just yet another stupid rule which helped to reinforce assumptions that women weren't as good as their male counter-parts.

Oh too late for me - off to bed, because I can't think straight.

TheYearOfTheCatMPADist Sun 21-Jun-09 23:54:25

I am also pretty surprised, because my DD has been attending the nursery unit attached to the school, and all the children there were jogging bottoms - I never for a moment thought it would be any different at 'big school'.

Now I'm really going to bed.

LadyGlencoraPalliser Sun 21-Jun-09 23:55:29

There is one primary school in our town that does this. If I were a parent I would definitely raise the issue. My DDs always wear trousers to school, much more practical IMO.

Quattrocento Sun 21-Jun-09 23:57:27

Is it an independent school, OP? Because this is perfectly standard IME for independent schools.

LadyGlencoraPalliser Mon 22-Jun-09 00:00:50

Is it really, Quatt? Blimey!

sunnydelight Mon 22-Jun-09 00:05:43

Even our (independent) school that is totally anal about uniform allows girls to wear trousers if they want, in reality very few of them do though.

Quattrocento Mon 22-Jun-09 00:10:11

Ours don't even let the boys wear trousers! They have to wear shorts all year round. Poor DS has very cold knees in winter.

LadyGlencoraPalliser Mon 22-Jun-09 00:12:09

How old do they have to be before they get to wear long trousers?

Quattrocento Mon 22-Jun-09 00:16:59

11. DS is 9. Only another two years of chilly knees to go ...

LadyGlencoraPalliser Mon 22-Jun-09 00:19:51

Goodness. What is it for? Is it a class diffrentiation thing? We hold to our quaint old customs because it was men in shorts with sunburnt knees wot built the empire?

Smithagain Mon 22-Jun-09 11:15:47

Our local independent school doesn't allow trousers for girls. Very strict uniform: a specific winter pinafore dress, with a specific blouse and cardigan, all from the local suppliers.

Yes, they look very smart. But you do have to ask whose benefit it's all for.

Just one reason why DD doesn't go there!

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 11:19:12

I could not contemplate sending my children to a school that enforced skirts upon girls in all weathers, or shorts upon boys.

What other out-of-date, authoritarian practices would be hidden behind the scenes at a school that imposed such a visible indication of its failure to move with the times?

stealthsquiggle Mon 22-Jun-09 11:24:26

Don't sit on the fence there Anna (as ever)hmm. DS's (independent) school has both skirts for girls and year-round shorts for boys (up to 8). It's not hiding anything particularly out-of-date or authoritarian that I have found in 3 years.

Blu Mon 22-Jun-09 11:24:46

If it is a state community school, they cannot enforce uniform, which i guess would give you the option of simply sending her in trousers.
Depends on how comfortable you feel with sticking out like sore thumb.

but maybe other parents would quickl fllow suit!

Chandra Mon 22-Jun-09 11:28:25

It was the same in DS's last school, girls and boys had different uniforms (summer dress vs bermudas, skirts and tightsvs trousers, and so on).

One summer dress was more expensive than 3 full sets of boy's unfiorms.

But people still thought the girls looked beautiful in them hmm

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 12:15:37

shock that people filter schools on the basis of whether or not girls can wear trousers.

Have you never heard of 'tradition' or is that a bad word now too?

Ivykaty44 Mon 22-Jun-09 12:23:22

Schools have been know to filter pupils through uniform expense hmm

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 12:25:06

Tradition is a bad word in my educational book, yes!

LadyGlencoraPalliser Mon 22-Jun-09 12:27:16

Bad word? Well, tradition purely for tradition's sake is not top of my list of values to teach my children.
And I have three DDs who prefer to wear trousers to school in winter for reasons of practicality, warmth and comfort then I would discount a school which was so inflexible as to refuse them that option.

pooka Mon 22-Jun-09 12:29:00

Am convinced that if this is a state school, they haven't a leg to stand on. Even the prissiest fussiest state primaries round here have had to acknowledge that they cannot stop girls from wearing trousers.

DD would burst into shameful flames if I put her in trousers, but at least 3 or 4 girls in each class wear trousers.

JodieO Mon 22-Jun-09 12:31:42

Totally agree with Anna.

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 12:34:03

'Tradition for tradition's sake' yes that's it LGP, you've got it - nothing sinister, just the way we've always done it.

A school that chooses to hold on to the tradition of it's uniform is automatically not embracing modern thinking re: best practice in education - is that it?

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 12:35:07

Not exactly - a school that embraces a uniform that is out-of-touch with modern dress codes signals that it very probably has other neuroses.

JodieO Mon 22-Jun-09 12:38:40

When children are freezing in winter then the "tradition" is bad imo, I just wouldn't do it. I'd rather my child and a nice education AND didn't freeze. Also it's not good for children to learn that certain sexes wear skirts and the other shorts/trousers; nothing wrong with girls wearing trousers etc.

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 12:40:13

Can schools have neuroses?

I wasn't aware that trousers were a modern phenomenon.

The idea of girls in trousers as school uniform has a touch of 'feminism gone too far' about it.

SolidGoldBrass Mon 22-Jun-09 12:41:18

I wouldn't send a child of mine to such a school. Because I would worry that, if they are prepared to uphold stupid sexism in the area of uniform, it probably permeates the whole school so the education is going to be flawed, as well.

TitsalinaBumsquash Mon 22-Jun-09 12:42:27

We had this rulae at my Primary and Secondary school, i rebeled with my mothers knowladge and wore Trousers everyday, in the end they just got used to it.

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 12:43:24

Of course schools can have neuroses - any institution can have neuroses!

Who said trousers were modern? The point about modern dress codes is that we now think individual warmth and comfort are more important than adherence to traditional uniforms whose purpose is to make all children look alike.

"The idea of girls in trousers as school uniform has a touch of 'feminism gone too far' about it." This is hilarious. Perhaps you were writing 80 years ago?

jeee Mon 22-Jun-09 12:44:10

"The idea of girls in trousers as school uniform has a touch of 'feminism gone too far' about it." hmm

My girls seem congenitally incapable of keeping tights up. They drive me up the wall when they wear them, pulling at the tights all the time. I much prefer them in trousers.

Squidward Mon 22-Jun-09 12:44:41

Its shit i wouldnt send my kid there on that basis.

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 12:46:13

You're probably right SGB. They would most definitely have rugby and cricket for boys and lacrosse and rounders for girls - the shock of it.

They might even have separate boys and girls toilets.

Tortington Mon 22-Jun-09 12:47:04

it seems a bizarre tradition to uphold, some traditions for tradition sake i understand - although i can't think of any - perhaps like learning the school motto in latin and reciting it every morning or something.

but trousers are practical. dd hasn't worn skirts at school

Greensleeves Mon 22-Jun-09 12:47:16

totally agree with Anna <thud> shock

Squidward Mon 22-Jun-09 12:47:50

le pantalon


bran Mon 22-Jun-09 12:49:35

PMSL at trousers being feminism gone too far. grin I was under the impression that they are just practical clothing for active children.

andiem Mon 22-Jun-09 12:50:36

thedolly shock are you a dolly in real life? is that why you like girls to dress up like well..... dollies?
I too am in agreement with anna [thud too]

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 12:51:00

Are we not to be ladylike and genteel? How else are we to learn to preserve our modesty if not at school whilst sitting on the floor of the gym in a skirt? No wonder there are so many more short-skirted teenage girls around with their bums hanging out - who will teach them how to wear a skirt with pride and dignity grin.

SolidGoldBrass Mon 22-Jun-09 12:51:08

THedolly: You know, I wouldn't think much of a school that insisted on separate sports for boys and girls, either (makes note in Little Book of Things to Sort when DS starts school). I am always aware that people who make a big deal out of emphasising the differences between males and females need careful watching as the agenda is always the maintaining of male privilege.

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 12:52:05

Here I differ entirely: I am a great believer in different sports for boys and girls.

Squidward Mon 22-Jun-09 12:52:54

I have no opinion on that
I dont have TIMe for all these opinions.

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 12:53:18

Oh, and the knees together thing I'm sure has it's benefits too wink .

andiem Mon 22-Jun-09 12:53:41

thedolly do you run a finishing school? maybe you could send your dollies daughters to one if that is what you are looking for in education
me I'm more interested in whether they can read and write by the end

Greensleeves Mon 22-Jun-09 12:54:22

lol at "pride and dignity" I think your definitions of those terms are slightly different from mine dolly hmm

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 12:58:54

Well andiem, they'll never learn to read and write if they're wearing a skirt now, will they?

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 13:00:38

You have no time for opinions? Ha ha ha grin

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 13:00:38

Greensleeves - traditional words for a traditional matter.

Greensleeves Mon 22-Jun-09 13:04:11

well, here's your answer anyway OP - courtesy of our friend with the nylon hair and non-existent genitals

DON'T send your girls to a crumbling pile inhabited by uptight knee-clenching dinosaurs babbling about tradition and dignity while forcing their pupils to play lacrosse grin

normal schools aren't allowed to ban trousers, whether they like it or not. Problem solved!

andiem Mon 22-Jun-09 13:07:34

wearing a skirt may inhibit their ability to particpate fully in school life though and play in the playground etc

but obviously we have very different values about what is important in education

pinkmagic1 Mon 22-Jun-09 13:13:23

How sexist! Infact the company I work for only provided skirts for women with no option for trousers up until about 8 years ago. Very old fashioned IMHO.

peapodlovescuddles Mon 22-Jun-09 13:16:16

Count yourself lucky, my childrens STATE primary has just brought in lilac jumpers, open necked shirts for girls and a skirt must be a royal blue box pleated one. No option for trousers there hmm

Personally I think little girls in trousers look yucky and always a bit scruffy. I much prefer my DDs in skirts or pinafores with thivk wooly tights in the winter.

Tortington Mon 22-Jun-09 13:16:35

i dont think its sexist but i do think its old fashioned.

i hate the idea - and the look of 10 year old boys in shorts - they are simply too old for grey shorts at that stage and they look stupid - just stupid.

shorts in winter stupid

dresses in winter stupid

choice of shorts or long pants in summer

dress or trousers in winter.

Squidward Mon 22-Jun-09 13:17:23

agree with the boys in shorts in winter thing - utterly stupid
and boaters fgs and stupid pinnies over girls dresses

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 13:19:07

It is the governing body of a school that decides the uniform policy is it not?

Is banning trousers considered gender discrimination?

Squidward Mon 22-Jun-09 13:20:30

I wonder.

Fennel Mon 22-Jun-09 13:28:28

State schools can't make uniform compulsory at primary age, though they may pretend they can.

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 13:40:16

AFAIK women only started wearing trousers in earnest after WWII (they wore their men folks trousers whilst they were off fighting).

There are certainly schools in this country that pre-date WWII.

I suspect the issue of wearing trousers is more of a race than a gender issue and that is a whole other debate.

Back to my 'feminism gone too far' statement - as women continue to progress in a still male dominated work place they have become increasingly more 'androgenised' - I give you the female trouser suit. Wear it and you too can pretend to be a man grin .

Greensleeves Mon 22-Jun-09 13:48:48

Do you wear a skirt every day thedolly?

bloss Mon 22-Jun-09 13:52:13

Message withdrawn

SolidGoldBrass Mon 22-Jun-09 13:54:43

I wouldn't mind a school where skirts were an option but would make sure that they allowed boys to wear skirts if they wanted to.

Hulababy Mon 22-Jun-09 13:58:07

I agree bloss - thick tights and a skirt is warmer than school trousers and socks IME. I usually chose to wear skirt and ttichts in winter for this reason - you also have the advatnage with a skirt that it doesn't get wet or soggy on a damp cold day, unlike trousers which can trail near the floor.

Astate primary cannot insist on uniform IIRR, so if OP really objects they can refuse I believe.

In the Y1 class I work in only 1 or 2 girls from my class chose to wear trousers. The rest chose dresses or skirts.

DD has a strict uniform (not state) where is a specific dress/skirt/pinafore for winter/summer uniforms. Can honestly say it has never been an issue at all.

School uniform trousers are on the whole pretty horrid pieces of clothing anyway!

Hulababy Mon 22-Jun-09 14:01:34

Oh, and wearing a skirt or dress for school has not yet managed to stop DD in her activities or play. There is nothing she cant do in a skirt or dress, compared to trousers. Let;s face it she can manage to climb a tree or the highest climbing frames in a full length princess dress so a knee length skirt isn't likely to stop her, lol!

bumsrush Mon 22-Jun-09 14:02:07

Boys can and have worn 'skirts' to my DC's school, kilts that is grin.

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 14:02:16

Greensleeves - I'm not against trousers (I love my Eva jeans from Topshop) I'm just not against tradition either.

There are many more worthwhile battles to pick in Education than uniform and as for using it to filter out schools - that is just ludicrous.

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 14:04:35

Oh and Greensleeves, the 'nylon' you mentioned a few posts back, that's for the girls trousers grin.

They are seriously unattractive.

HerBeatitudeLittleBella Mon 22-Jun-09 14:11:39

I disagree with any uniform that is stupid.

Forcing girls to wear trousers is stupid and sexist.

Forcing boys to wear shorts in winter is stupid and unkind. Why would any normal adult want to force a child to dress inappropriately for the weather? I am extremely suspicious of adults who think that's OK.

If the kids have to wear shorts, so should the adults.

I hate this casual dismissal of children's comfort and welfare. It's vile.

HerBeatitudeLittleBella Mon 22-Jun-09 14:12:25

You can fight several battles at the same time, you know. Fighting silly uniforms doesn't stop you fighting SATs.

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 14:15:38

I know of a school where the Headmaster did just that HBLB. He had a uniform, shorts and all made for him - now that's weird.

<disclaimer - I do not think this is a good idea> smile

bamboostalks Mon 22-Jun-09 14:16:46

11 year old boys in school shorts is weird and unnecessary. A tall boy will look ridiculous. I think it is an elitist thing. They look like plonkers though.

HerBeatitudeLittleBella Mon 22-Jun-09 14:17:10

LOL he sounds like something out of Little Britain.

Am astonished that so many parents are happy to have their kids in the care of wierdies like that.

SolidGoldBrass Mon 22-Jun-09 14:20:02

I'm one of those who's not very keen on school uniform anyway. but if they have to have it, at primary level, it should be about comfort and practicality and cheapness. School-logo sweatshirts and t-shirts with a choice of skirt or trousers (and preferably trousers as they just are more practical) should be the beginning and end of it, not all this wanky knickerbockers and pinnies and straw boaters to get lost and wrecked...

Ceolas Mon 22-Jun-09 14:24:14

My DCs school has a choice of trousers or skirt/pinafore in the winter. Consequently after all the uniform has been bought in August, I am not going back out to buy more in October, so my girls wear skirts/pinafores all year round. Also, I have never seen a pair of girl's school trousers that I liked and I think they look a bit stupid with a shirt and tie on a girl hmm

It's a very good school and we are happy with it in almost all respects. They have never complained of being cold or seemed unable/too uncomfortable to participate in any activities.

bumsrush Mon 22-Jun-09 14:25:14

It takes you back to the first world war when woman could join certain corps in the services and were still expected to wear skirts, and those that wore split skirts to ride horses and motor bikes were a bit strange,

Sorry but what century is this, not that long ago thought that I had to argue my case to wear trousres at work, despite the fact the lovely straight skirts they wanted us to wear were completly impracticle for the job we were doing,.

HerBeatitudeLittleBella Mon 22-Jun-09 14:25:51

I agree Solid.

I think all these wanky uniforms are all about emphasising elitism and I honestly don't understand how anyone who belives in education for all, can justify the emphasis on elitism. It's disgusting.

LadyGlencoraPalliser Mon 22-Jun-09 14:28:38

'the wearing of trousers is more of a race than a gender issue'.
I'm not sure what you mean here, Dolly.

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 14:28:40

Since when were ties practical? Do we want those banned?

Hulababy Mon 22-Jun-09 14:29:27

HerBeatitudeLittleBella - DD has all thatkind of uniform; part of the original uniform from when the schoolw as set up. I don't see it as elitism. TBH though - I do care greatly about education, both my DDs education plus the education of those I have previously taught in schools or prisons, and also of the children I am a TA for. I just don't see the uniform as something to concern myself about it - to me education is far more important than what they wear! I'd rather concern myself over what is actally happening in the classroom than if one school has a boater as part of thier uniform hmm

LadyGlencoraPalliser Mon 22-Jun-09 14:30:26

Ties are silly and pointless IMO. Would be happy to see them disappear - I think a lot of men would agree.

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 14:31:12

Ties on school children are just horrible!

I do think that school dress codes can provide important lessons in teaching children how to dress appropriately. But sadly, it mostly seems to teach counter productive lessons in how to dress inappropriately and badly sad.

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 14:31:53

My DP gave up wearing ties to the office about 6 years ago. It looks so much better.

HerBeatitudeLittleBella Mon 22-Jun-09 14:37:21

Well we'll just have to disagree on this one Hula. Some dress is designed to show your membership of a club, one from which others are excluded. I think poncey uniforms fit into that category, you don't. There's no meeting point there. grin

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 14:37:39

LGP perhaps I should have said 'religious' rather than 'race'.

For a number of religions, uncovered legs for females is not considered appropriate.

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 14:39:44

Ties are yuck Anna but I wouldn't not send my DC to a school that had them as part of the uniform - that would be just silly.

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 14:39:45

LittleBella - I agree that uniforms are generally a status symbol.

Personally, I like signalling my superior status by being eminently sensible in the way I dress wink

HerBeatitudeLittleBella Mon 22-Jun-09 14:40:08

Oh and I absolutely agree with you, that what happens in the classroom is more important than what is worn. But most advocates of school uniforms, poncey or not, do not agree with us.

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 14:41:19

They are a symbol of the status of tradition smile .

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 14:42:00

Indeed, but tradition has no status at all in my book.

LadyGlencoraPalliser Mon 22-Jun-09 14:43:44

Yes, you should definitely have said religion rather than race. I suppose you are alluding to Muslim pupils.
Well, while it may be the case that some parents prefer their daughters to wear trousers to school for religious or cultural reasons, I should think that there are at least as many who wish their daughters to have the choice to wear trousers for reasons of comfort and practicality.
Either way, I don't see why schools should enforce a trouser ban on girls.

Hulababy Mon 22-Jun-09 14:48:04

HerBeatitudeLittleBella - yes, we shall have to agree to disagree. I suppose I come at it from another angle. When grown adults have made personal negative remarks about the way your own child looks in their uniform (and yes this did happen on MN once, as well as it happening in RL onthe bus once too) in front of said child then you sometimes think differntly.

I personally bring my daughter up to accept everyone for who they are, regardless of who they are. I will continue to do so.

Sadly not all people do feel this is the way to behave (not this thread, but as said before - in the past) and will themselves, and encourage their own children, to react negatively if they see someone in a uniform, be them child or adult.

I personally can;t understand why some parents allow their children to go to school wearing strappy cropped tops, mini skirts, slip on slip flops or kitten heels at the age of 6 and 7, but even then my decent manners ensure I would never comment to them or said child unles it was in a professional capacity.

Life is full of uniforms and dress codes - to me it is the norm. It is not elitism, but they way things are. But others must chose for themselves how they wish to view uniforms in society.

thedolly Mon 22-Jun-09 14:51:50

I am not alluding to any pupils LGP.

LadyGlencoraPalliser Mon 22-Jun-09 14:56:51

Well of course you are alluding to some pupils when you speak of 'a number of religions'. hmm I assumed this was a reference to Muslim pupils, but perhaps I was mistaken and you meant some other religion.

Squidward Mon 22-Jun-09 15:00:04

Knowing of Annas obession with etiquette and the in parisian crowd and what is right and wrong regarding Village halls I am entertained by her iconoclasm on this thread.

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 15:02:38

I'm not remotely obsessed with etiquette - in fact, quite the contrary, I am a notorious breaker of protocol grin

Squidward Mon 22-Jun-09 15:03:55

NO YOU ARE SO NOT!!! remember the I cant be arsed to go out in the week, but you did incase you casued offence.. etc

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 15:05:05

I didn't go! LOL you're all mixed up! The fact that I am confronted with a lot of protocol doesn't mean I go along with it.

Squidward Mon 22-Jun-09 15:09:58

ha ha

look at me all indignant in caps

bumpsoon Mon 22-Jun-09 16:44:29

One of our local village schools has the same rule .I feel very sorry for my friend having to buy endless tights in the winter because her dd knees at least two pairs a week! Other than the weird uniform rule ,it is a lovely school

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