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Girls to be banned from wearing skirts at a Norfolk school - but what do you think?

PUBLISHED: 14:04 11 February 2014 | UPDATED: 16:41 11 February 2014

Archant

Female pupils at a Norfolk high school will be banned from wearing skirts in a crackdown on “immodest” clothing.

Governors at Diss High School have agreed that a trouser-only uniform is adopted from September, based on the recommendations of a uniform focus group.

The school’s headteacher Jan Hunt said: “Girls already wear trousers at Diss High School.

“The reason the school is making this compulsory is the tendency for some girls to wear really short skirts. “Hemlines have risen to a level that is both impractical as well as immodest.

“Inevitably, this decision is popular with some parents and not with others. The same responses would be true for pupils. Financial support will be offered to parents to support this transition.”

Other school uniform rows

Diss High School is not the only Norfolk secondary to change its uniform in recent years.

As many former local authority schools make the change over to academies, new smarter uniforms have been brought in by many such as the Downham Market and King’s Lynn academies.

Hethersett Academy, near Norwich, proposed a black blazer, tie and black knee-length skirt for girls and black trousers and a white shirt for boys as it took over the former Hethersett High School last November.

Many parents and pupils have reportedly welcomed the move to smarter uniforms – but some decisions over what pupils wear in lessons have caused more controversy than others.

At Cromer High School in 2011, Martin Clohisey and his wife Libby took their daughter Alice, then 15, out of lessons after three days of negotiations between themselves and the headteacher over whether Alice could wear shortened school trousers.

Mr Clohisey said that after his daughter was told off for rolling up her school trousers in class because she was hot, his wife – a professional seamstress – altered the trousers to knee length so Alice could be more comfortable in lessons during the hot weather.

But the school was not happy about the altered trousers and Alice was taken out of lessons for one-to-one teaching.

In December a Wisbech school apologised after some of its pupils went home or called parents to pick them up in a confusion over uniform.

Thomas Clarkson Academy had a one-day crackdown in a bid to make sure students

were wearing the correct clothing.

If they lived close by and could go home to change then students were allowed to go, said principal Clare Claxton – but some thought it meant they

had to call parents, who were left disgruntled at having to take time off work to get them.

“We are looking for all students to be dressed appropriately,” said Mrs Claxton at the time.

“We don’t want some wearing trendy River Island or New Look items as not all parents can afford those which means it is not fair.”

A year earlier pupils at the Thomas Clarkson Academy were presented with a one minute 15 second video on how to tie a

tie.

The decision to introduce the ban was recommended by a uniform focus group, consisting of governors, pupils and staff, which met during the autumn term.

The review group’s recommendations were then discussed by a meeting of governors, which agreed to the ban along with a number of other proposals, including a ban on make-up for children in years 7-11 and permission to wear black ballet-type shoes.

Boys black school shoes were only deemed acceptable if no logo was available.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “In terms of uniform policy that is not something we administer, it is purely down to the school to make that decision.”

But the decision caused some consternation among shoppers visiting Diss town centre on Tuesday afternoon, with many feeling that pupils should be able to wear skirts of an acceptable length.

To see the policies of Norfolk’s other high schools click here

Teresa Mayston, 56, from Palgrave, said: “It is ridiculous. I think it is silly to ban them at school because it is free choice, isn’t it?

“As long as the skirt is of a certain length then I think they should be able to wear skirts, but unfortunately I think the rules are not being adhered to and some of the skirts are not skirts.”

Alison Moore, 49, from Eye, said: “It seems unfair to me. You are doing something that is penalising girls.”

Zoe Taylor, 44, from Great Moulton, believed in having a strict school uniform policy because children learned the importance of looking smart, which would serve them well during their working life.

She added: “I like girls to look like girls. I like the feminine side of wearing a skirt as part of a uniform. I used to have the trouser option, but I always chose the skirt because it is more feminine.

“Unfortunately, the way children wear uniforms nowadays is inappropriate. I am not sure how I would enforce having a certain length of skirt that had to be adhered to.”

Amber Ervine, 26, from Scole, said: “I don’t know if I necessarily agree with it, but I see these teenage girls walking round with tiny skirts, but then I don’t know if you can ban them from wearing them.”

And another Diss resident, Jane Brown, said: “I think they should be able to wear skirts so long as they are not really short. I would restrict the length of them so they looked respectable.”

Do you agree with the ban on pupils wearing skirts? Email dominic.bareham2@archant.co.uk or write to EDP letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email edpletters@archant.co.uk giving your full name and address.

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