- September 6, 2017
Parents of pupils at Priory School in Lewes have criticised the school’s decision to prevent girls in Year 7 from wearing skirts.
The measure was brought in by Headteacher Tony Smith following complaints from parents about short skirts and demands to make the uniform gender neutral for transgender students.
The decision means that girls must now wear grey trousers instead of a skirt.
The move has caused anger amongst some parents who feel it is wrong that trousers have been enforced at the school. Many are appalled that the decision was taken without any consultation with the parents.
Some think the new rule has created a hostile environment for girls. They say for the female pupils who identify as female being forced to be gender neutral is a big deal. One pupil wrote that she believes ‘girls have the right to wear skirts’ and ‘thinks they should be allowed a choice’.
The father of a new Year 7 student said ‘women have fought for their right to dress how they want to and it seems their rights were taken away’. However, he feels that if the issue is just about inappropriate dressing then it was the right decision.
Parents also say the new rule is sexist as girls should be allowed to wear skirts if they want to and argue the decision is not gender neutral as boys aren’t allowed to wear skirts.
Another point raised by parents is that this new rule doesn’t stop the issue of obscene skirts being worn, as the pupils still have another four years at school where they aren’t made to wear trousers. However, students in Year 8 – Year 11 are welcome to wear the new uniform if they wish to.
Speaking about the changes to the uniform the headteacher said pupils had been asking why girls have a different uniform to boys. As a result, he said the school had decided to bring in the same uniform for everyone from Year 7. Another issue he said was the small but increasing number of transgender students and for them having the same uniform was important.
In addition to girls wearing trousers, all Year 7 pupils will no longer wear blazers – instead, these have been replaced by navy jumpers, which they will continue to wear with ties and white shirts.
By Clare Calder