English School Bans Skirts to Be ‘More Gender-Neutral’

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Tiverton High School in Devon, England, is banning skirts and moving to a “trousers-only” uniform policy to be “more gender-neutral”.

“We will follow other secondary schools in implementing a more gender-neutral uniform policy,” a letter to parents at the school quoted by DevonLive reads.

“Parents/carers will be pleased to know that the majority of the uniform will remain as it is, with the exception that from September all students will be expected to wear trousers,” they added — although the confidence of their assertion that parents “will be pleased” appears to have been misplaced, judging by the reaction.

“These [uniform changes] have been made without any consultation with the pupils or parents and are simply being imposed,” complained one parent, named as Stephen Moakes.

“I feel that as a school that encourages its pupils to be engaged and have a voice this seems to be a complete lack of democracy by not allowing the established pupil forums to have input on school uniform changes, start finish times of school day, reduction in lunch break etc.,” he added, referring to some other pending changes as well.

Headmistress Sammy Crook, however, insists that the skirt ban has “the approval of our governors, and balances the demands placed on us in matters including standards of education, parental cost, inclusivity and student health” — although in what way allowing girls to wear skirts might be less inclusive or damaging to pupils’ health compared to forcing everyone to wear trousers went unexplained.

Crook did reference “the ‘trend’ for girls in the school to abuse the current policy and wear approved skirts shorter than they should, in and out of school” as contributing to the ban, but nevertheless, the school’s letter to parents kicked off by citing a desire to move to “a more gender-neutral uniform” rather than an alleged practical issue of pupils wearing skirts that are too revealing.

The teacher also noted that the previous policy “allowed girls to wear trousers, which many do already, and boys have been able to wear skirts if they want to” — possibly to burnish her “inclusive” credentials.

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