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DDs school has skirts only uniform for girls

(83 Posts)
Mydogsleepsonthebed Mon 01-Oct-12 08:35:34

And it's the board of governors meeting tomorrow night. (Normal state primary). I can't go but I want to right a stinking letter. Can you help? I'm a work but will check a lunch time.

meditrina Mon 01-Oct-12 08:40:12

Does it need to be stinking at this stage? Persuasion is usually more effective than argumentation, and presumably the aim here is to secure the change?

Has the issue been raised before? If so, in what terms and what was the response then? Are you writing as an individual, or representing a number of parents, or are a number of parents writing as individuals as well?

EatsBrainsAndLeaves Mon 01-Oct-12 08:46:55

Personally I wouldnt go straight in with a stinking letter. You want to persuade them, rather tahn put their backs up. So perhaps a letters imply requesting that for girls the school uniform includes an option for trousers. You could also point out some of the benefits for girls of having this option, say it is unusual for a school not to offer this option these days, and say that you have spoken to a number of parents who agree with you. Then ask them to consider this at the meeting.

Mydogsleepsonthebed Mon 01-Oct-12 09:10:16

I've raised it before verbally but nothing was ever done. So I want to make it a bit more formal. I have to go to work but I will be back I promise

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 01-Oct-12 09:13:54

I want to know the same things as meditrina. Is it that you're mainly bothered about the discrimination, or the fact that skirts aren't terribly practical (which people often point out on here).

I think I'd go for something like this [brackets for bits if other people are also writing in/discussing]:

Dear ///,

I want to raise a concern [add my perspective on the concerns] about the school uniform policy of skirts only for girls. I [we] feel that this policy discriminates on grounds of gender. Skirts are not practical when children are playing actively and I [we] worry that girls will feel less able to take part in games safely. I would like to ask the board of govenors to consider amending the uniform policy, to allow girls to wear trousers.

Yours,

[name]

That is fairly short and softly-softly; I'm sure other people can do better.

Himalaya Mon 01-Oct-12 09:41:53

I would agree - don't go for stinking as a first approach, but do go for official/formal (who have you raised it with before?)

You might want to reference the Department For Education Guidance here which doesn't specifically say anything about the skirts/trousers question but does give some principles that you can tie your argument to, to give it greater weight.

e.g.

"The DFE Guidance states that a school uniform plays a valuable role in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone. It strongly encourages schools to have a uniform as it can instil pride; support positive behaviour and discipline; encourage identity with, and support for, school ethos; ensure pupils of all races and backgrounds feel welcome; protect children from social pressures to dress in a particular way; and nurture cohesion and promote good relations between different groups of pupils. Above all, many schools believe that school uniform supports effective teaching and learning."

In these kinds of cases of institutional inertia the trick is to make your approach appear absolutely reasonable, simple and low-risk for governors who have a hundred different things to think about and just want a quiet life.

I would emphasise the practical aspect for active play, and say that allowing girls to wear trousers (and also school uniform style shorts in the summer) would not undermine any of the DFE's aims, and would support some of them - ensuring pupils of all races and backgrounds feel welcome, supporting cohesion, and supporting a school ethos which (hopefully) does not impose arbitrary expectations about girls and boys.

You could perhaps reference other local schools that allow girls to wear trousers to show it is a no brainer.

I would not go too strong on the gender discrimination line, because some bright spark will no doubt say 'but then isn't it gender discrimination to say boys can't wear skirts?' (to which the logical answer is yes, but the practical answer is that the chance of one of them wanting to if no one mentions it is vanishingly small).

The governors will want to avoid making a decision that puts them at risk of making a load of other parents angry (e.g. deciding that to avoid gender discrimination everyone has to wear trousers), or ending up in the local paper as the school that allows boys to wear dresses. If you can present it as the option that puts them in no-risk of either of these, they should (if reasonable) go for it.

If they do not respond to this approach, then go for stinkiness, and photos in the local paper of sad girls with freezing knees etc...

meditrina Mon 01-Oct-12 09:46:59

One thing to consider is how the children get to school - for if the school is encouraging cycling or walking (do they do "Walk on Wednesdays/ Walk once a Week?) then the practical issue of cold legs kicks in more strongly. (They might say "change on arrival" - pre-empt this by saying wearing to users removes the need for extra fuss at the busy times of pick up and drop off and fewer items to be lost).

SavoyCabbage Mon 01-Oct-12 09:50:24

There is a school next to me that has banned skirts and dresses in case anyone sees anyone's knickers.

NellyJob Mon 01-Oct-12 09:51:48

fgs wasn't this battle fought in the seventies?

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 01-Oct-12 09:52:38

I don't see what's wrong with saying boys can wear skirts, TBH. It's unlikely they will, but not exactly an issue. If they just remove all references to gender, it'll be fine.

Himalaya Mon 01-Oct-12 13:16:25

LRD - I don't either, but its the kind of discussion that makes people nervous, and when people get nervous they stick with the status quo.

If the OP wants her governing body to just go 'yes of course girls can where trousers, what were we thinking in not reviewing our uniform rules in light of the 20th century' then she probably doesn't want to open the can of worms labelled 'boys in skirts' at this point.

Himalaya Mon 01-Oct-12 13:16:49

wear ...blush

weegiemum Mon 01-Oct-12 13:20:06

Boys can wear skirts at my dcs school. There's a uniform kilt option!

purplehouse Mon 01-Oct-12 13:26:52

Our primary has this as well. I hate it - trousers are so much more practical for climbing and also easier to get on than tights. My 4yo DD can dress and undress fine but can't manage the tights. I would like to send her in trousers but the head is very old fashioned and has been head for 20+ years and would be pretty mad.

But I am interested, those of you at schools where they can wear trousers, what do they wear in the summer instead of the 1950s style school dress?

NellyJob Mon 01-Oct-12 13:37:54

I wouldn't put up with it personally, it is unbelievable in this century.

BloooCowWonders Mon 01-Oct-12 13:43:39

My dd has just started a skirts-only secondary. Her twin pronged attack is the difficulty of cycling (so it impacts girls health) and the cost issue - boys don't have to contantly buy tights (it's an unusal colour so you can't buy cheap tights at any old supermarket.)

dd's powers of persuation are going to be tested, but I'm proud that's she's going to keep trying.

edam Mon 01-Oct-12 13:48:49

I'm sure there have been news stories about schools that have had to back down on this due to gender discrimination - possibly the Human Rights Act?

quick google found this dunno what happened but worth calling the Equalities Commission to find out whether they have any guidance for schools?

5madthings Mon 01-Oct-12 13:56:34

google the department for education it has a bit about uniform and i have just been reading it (issue at my kids primary re uniform) it CLEARLY states that uniform cannot discriminate on grounds of GENDER, race, religion etc, so this is gender discrimination!

it says there is no legal precedent and it would be for a court to decide (in their uqestions and answers bit) but i doubt a school would take it that far! bloody outrageous, i fought this battle when i was at high school, i did a petition and everything! we were then allowed to wear trousers.

5madthings Mon 01-Oct-12 14:00:41

its on the directgov.co.uk bit, google it and it will come up, my pc wont let me c&p for some reason!

TiggyD Mon 01-Oct-12 15:21:15

You could praise the school for having a skirt only policy.

Eg, "Congratulations for realising that girls are born to raise children, keep an efficient house, and look good for their men. Your skirt policy helps this by restricting the rougher, unfeminine activities such as running and cycling, meaning they get less exercise..." etc.

SchrodingersMew Mon 01-Oct-12 15:26:14

There was a boy in the paper a while back who got annoyed about the uniform issue and went to school in a skirt using a loophole. I think in the end, it was said they could not specify what gender wears each uniform. They can have different items of uniform but not for a specific gender.

NellyJob Mon 01-Oct-12 15:30:59

spot on tiggyD

WorriedBetty Mon 01-Oct-12 15:32:49

UNHELPFUL COMMENT ALERT!

Why don't you suggest that to make it equal, boys' trousers should be crotchless?

NellyJob Mon 01-Oct-12 16:06:57

horrible going to school in a skirt and boys sticking stuff up your skirt like it was really funny or something...

avenueone Mon 01-Oct-12 19:59:57

I cried so hard one day coming home from school because I couldn't wear trousers. I wasn't being a feminist, I was freezing!! I remember my Dad telling me I was just causing trouble grrrrr
Good luck with the letter some great points made. When I read posts on here - I imagine you all sat in my room and I feel safe surrounded by wise people and ones who make me pee my pants!!

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