School bans skirts for being

By Alison PurdyA SCHOOL in East Anglia has become the first in Britain to ban skirts after hemlines rose to an "inappropriate" level.Kesgrave High School, near Ipswich, took the decision to outlaw skirts after warnings about the growing trend for ever shorter skirts were ignored.

By Alison Purdy

A SCHOOL in East Anglia has become the first in Britain to ban skirts after hemlines rose to an "inappropriate" level.

Kesgrave High School, near Ipswich, took the decision to outlaw skirts after warnings about the growing trend for ever shorter skirts were ignored.

From September, all girls at the school will have to wear trousers to fall into line with its new uniform policy.


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Chairman of governors, Margaret Young, said the new policy was being introduced because hemlines had risen to a level that had become impractical, as well as immodest.

"We simply do not want our girls going outside with a 'come hither look'. I think many parents will find it enormously helpful," she added.

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"These days girls wear very short skirts, which is against the school uniform policy. Two years ago we sent out letters to parents asking them to make sure skirts were regulation length, which is just above the knee. The impact was very short-lived and it wasn't long before skirts were very short again."

Mrs Young said a high percentage of the school's 1,600 pupils cycled to school and felt such short skirts looked "dreadful" on girls who rode a bike.

"We have a very active curriculum and trousers are much more practical and comfortable. Now instead of having to discipline pupils on uniform inaccuracies, which was a waste of their time, teachers can get on with teaching," she added.

School headteacher, George Thomas, said the changes to the uniform were an issue of practicality.

"There is a tendency for some of the girls to wear really short skirts and this is not helped by the fact there are not many practical skirts stocked by high street shops," he added.

"The changes to the uniform are an issue of practicality, as well as equal rights. Kesgrave has a huge percentage of pupils that cycle to school and some of the things we are seeing the girls wearing at the moment are not suitable for this, or for an active curriculum.

"Rather than have teachers continually shout at the girls for wearing short skirts, we are switching to a new uniform."

The new uniform will see the traditional shirt and tie combination replaced by a light-blue polo shirt, featuring the school crest, and a navy-blue sweatshirt, also featuring the school crest.

Boys must wear grey trousers, while girls must wear dark-blue trousers in one of two styles, only available from the National Schoolwear Centre in Westgate Street, Ipswich.

Mrs Young said of the few complaints the school had received about the change, most were concerned with the cost of replacing the old uniform.

One mother of a year eight pupil, who did not wish to be named, said: "I think it's a cop out on the school's part really. It makes no sense to introduce regulations on the type of trousers they have to wear, when they could just do the same thing for skirts.

"I understand that teachers have a lot more on their plates today and have more to worry about than uniforms, but there are other ways of going about it."

A father of a year 10 pupil added: "It does seem like a bit of an extreme measure, but I can see their point. When I see my daughter and some of the other girls come out of school at the end of the day, they do look a bit inappropriate.

"But one would think they could enforce some sort of regulation skirt rather than ban them completely. Obviously with the introduction of an entirely new uniform you also have the issue of cost."

A spokesman for the Equal Opportunities Commission said the skirt ban was unusual and added:

We would advise schools to make sure that their uniform guidelines are common sense and reflect working lives and the modern working wardrobe."

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