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6th form dress code

(55 Posts)
AtiaoftheJulii Thu 12-Nov-15 17:59:27

My dd is in y13 and they are expected to dress in an "office smart" fashion. There are constant niggles about girls wearing skirts that are too short or trousers that are too tight and enable the shape of the wearer's bottom to be seen. Yesterday an email went round to all sixth formers summoning the girls to an assembly today, where they were told that short skirts made male teachers uncomfortable (which was challenged and amended to "er, all of us teachers"), and that the way some of them dressed was embarrassing to themselves and anyone who saw them. That's really not the way to go about it, is it? To attempt to shame them, make them all cringe that the male teachers might be looking at their legs, and to be told that basically having legs is embarrassing.

Lots of upset/indignant/irate girls. I think I'm going to have to write a letter in too; it should be possible to police a dress code without using insulting and emotive language. The other thing that has really riled the girls, is that loads of boys wear black jeans - jeans are most definitely in the "no" section of what is acceptable - and when this was brought up this morning, they were told "oh, we hadn't noticed that" (!!)

It all just seems so sexist, and puts so many more expectations on the girls than the boys. Do you think I'd sound mental letting the school know I'm not happy? (They are going to be dealing with complaints from the female students for days anyway I know!) Apart from this issue, I really like the school, and would say I have a good relationship with them. DD nearly always wears trousers anyway, I'm not getting defensive about her, just generally pissed off about how it's always the girls' bodies that are the Menace To Society.

bigTillyMint Thu 12-Nov-15 18:39:58

God that is shocking. Definitely write in. The girls are right to be indignant.

What kind of trousers can you buy that don't show the shape of your bottom?confused

noblegiraffe Thu 12-Nov-15 19:51:42

I'd say in sixth form your DD and the other girls are probably perfectly capable of fighting this battle and not needing a parent to write in on their behalf.

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 12-Nov-15 19:55:10

I'm not fighting anyone in particular's battle. I'd like to let the school know that I personally think they've screwed up this situation! Surely it's reasonable for a parent to be able to express their opinion? I tell them when I think they're doing a good job.

noblegiraffe Thu 12-Nov-15 20:06:16

No, they are nearly adults and can deal with this themselves. It would be far more empowering to support your DD writing her own letter. Suggest she gets the girls together to put their own case to the head of sixth form.

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 12-Nov-15 21:08:30

I'm not needed to empower anyone, lol - she will be making her own complaint I'm very sure, and her friends are talking about petitions and means of protest.

I'm still an individual with my own opinion though .... and tbh being told by a teacher not to express it isn't really convincing me grin

Lalsy Thu 12-Nov-15 21:17:16

OP, I would write - with your opinion, as a parent, not to support your dd. The girls (and perhaps boys) will make their views known I am sure. I think schools struggle with this and it is important they know that you disagree with them. This attitude can too easily lead to victim-blaming and to girls being responsible for their male peers' actions. And anyway, you are disagreeing with the school about an issue they have (wrongly IMO) turned into a moral one - that is quite fundamental, IMO.

jeanne16 Thu 12-Nov-15 21:23:40

But you do see girls from schools in our area who are wearing skirts that are so short they hardly cover their bottoms. Before you complain to the school, perhaps it's worth just checking whether this is the case!

Lalsy Thu 12-Nov-15 21:31:17

Jeanne, the girls at my dc school wear very short skirts. I would still complain if they were told that they should feel shame, and that it was their job to second guess the ways in which their male teachers might be objectifying them. I have complained about some clumsy policy wording that implied girls and boys had to meet different dress standards (unintentionally I think). I got a rapid apology and the offending text was removed immediately.

noblegiraffe Thu 12-Nov-15 21:47:29

Do what you like but they'll be off to uni next year and a lot of sixth formers I know would be embarrassed at their mum writing in.

TeddTess Thu 12-Nov-15 23:07:18

for many schools allowing their sixth form to wear "business dress" is a grown up alternative to a uniform. the sixth formers should dress as if going to an interview in smart suits of their choosing. if you don't want that and want jeans etc then choose a different school. many schools have a sixth form uniform precisely to avoid this kind of argument. by all means it was handled badly and reasons given ridiculous BUT the girls should take a good look at their clothing and see if they are being true to the spirit of the dress code.

usual Thu 12-Nov-15 23:13:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PurpleDaisies Thu 12-Nov-15 23:21:36

Sixth formers shouldn't be wearing very short skirts if they're supposed to look office smart. Presumably they agreed to this when they signed up for sixth form.

The reason given for no short skirts (male teachers are uncomfortable) is absolutely ridiculous and that should be challenged. The female students should definitely campaign for the rules to be applied fairly and stop the boys from wearing jeans.

senua Thu 12-Nov-15 23:35:01

and to be told that basically having legs is embarrassing.

That's disingenuous. It's not the legs they are objecting to.

BackforGood Fri 13-Nov-15 00:35:20

Totally agree with noblegiraffe.
They are 6th formers - this is one they need to deal with themselves.

It sounds like the e-mail is badly written, but it also shows an immaturity of (some elements of??) the 6th formers that they need this pointing out to them.
There is a dress code. They should adhere to it, and, if they don't like it, challenge it through things such as the school council / writing to Governors, etc, and not thing they can just choose to ignore it. that goes for the boys and the girls IMO.

bigTillyMint Fri 13-Nov-15 07:23:45

It is not the dress-code that is the problem.

It is the way in which the policy/email has been worded.

Pathetic that the senior management of the sixth form cannot manage to word things better, with better reasons to support their arguments. Perhaps some of the girls could help them with itwink

Lalsy Fri 13-Nov-15 07:36:17

Exactly, Tilly.

And the OP has said she would not be writing to support her dd, or sort things out for her, but to let the school know her own views.

homebythesea Fri 13-Nov-15 07:36:28

It seems to me that part of the problem is that the dress code is too open to interpretation. At my sons school "business" means exactly that- so a proper suit for boys and a skirt suit (matching jacket and skirt, the latter to be just above the knee or longer) with pastel blouse etc. Having "business" dress code that includes jeans is bound to cause problems

PurpleDaisies Fri 13-Nov-15 07:38:28

Jeans are in the definite 'no' section according to the op. The issue there is the policy is not being properly enforced.

homebythesea Fri 13-Nov-15 07:45:18

But a policy that in fact allows people to get away with flouting it is a poor policy, badly policed. Having a clearer dress requirement allows everyone to know what to wear and more obvious when someone transgresses

PurpleDaisies Fri 13-Nov-15 07:56:44

I would again argue that the issue isn't with the policy per se, it is the fact that no one is checking properly to make sure that the students are adhering to it. But we're into semantics of what's the official policy verses what's unofficially acceptable which I don't think is particularly helpful.

Schools do themselves no favours when they have rules they don't enforce. Far better to remove those rules from the code of conduct so students are completely clear how they should dress/behave and they have no excuse for stepping out of line. They should of course be encouraged to challenge any rules they don't agree with through the proper channels.

SheGotAllDaMoves Fri 13-Nov-15 08:07:31

It seems to me when schools say 'office wear' they often have absolutely no idea what women are wearing to the office these days.

They're certainly not wearing only black/grey/navy skirt suits (on the knee) with collared blouses. If that's what schools want them to wear, then that is what they should say, rather than leaving it so open to interpretation.

bigTillyMint Fri 13-Nov-15 08:10:45

It is the sexist wording that bothers me -

"they were told that short skirts made male teachers uncomfortable (which was challenged and amended to "er, all of us teachers"),

"that the male teachers might be looking at their legs"

"trousers that are too tight and enable the shape of the wearer's bottom to be seen"

As the OP says, it should be possible to police a dress code without using insulting and emotive language.

BoboChic Fri 13-Nov-15 08:19:30

If office wear is the inspiration, Amal Clooney is surely right up there as a role model? There are lots of pics of her online in her professional capacity.

PurpleDaisies Fri 13-Nov-15 08:24:43

I totally agree with you tilly.

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