A stiff blazer, plain skirt, blouse and black shoes make up my uniform, and I don’t like it. Why do I have to wear this uncomfortable clothing? Why can I not, within reason, wear what I want?
My uniform’s strict and there are various rules about how it can and can’t be worn (skirt on the knee, sleeves rolled down, shirt tucked in).
Teachers spend a lot of time meticulously checking we‘re wearing our uniform correctly. This is time when we could be learning, if we all wore our own clothes.
My school wants us to look smart, give a good impression, and to instil in us a sense of belonging to the school community. But how much does a badge on my blazer make me feel part of my school? Surely the atmosphere in school is more important than what the pupils are wearing.
The pressure of fashion
Another counter argument is the pressure no uniform puts on parents and pupils alike. If we dress in our own clothes, it will make us feel the demand to keep up with fashion trends and our peers. This in turn will press our parents to buy more clothes, which is expensive.
However, the uniform we wear isn’t cheap. My school insists on uniform from only one supplier, so the prices are high.
I also hear a lot that if we didn’t wear a uniform, there may be more bullying as people pick on those who don’t have the latest fashions. I don’t think a uniform is a guard against bullies. Being picked on for a hand-me-down skirt or badly fitting blazer is surely just as likely as for last season’s trainers. In 2011 RandomThingy, in Year 9 at the time, commented that he ‘thought uniforms were supposed to prevent bullying, yet all they did was encourage it’.
On the occasional mufti days my school has, the range of clothes worn is a positive conversation point and encourages many compliments where normal uniform gets none. A no-uniform policy gives pupils a chance to display their individuality, rather than being hidden behind regulation clothes.
Uniform is often uncomfortable, too. My blazer has the amazing ability of being too cold in the winter yet too hot in summer. As well, it’s not practical for some of our lessons. Many blazers bear paint stains from art, so wouldn’t it be better to let us choose something practical for our lessons, and the weather, so we can feel comfortable and focus on learning?
Do you agree that school uniform is in need of a rethink? What about giving pupils the freedom to choose their own clothes, but with guidelines on what is acceptable?