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Norfolk school bringing in gender-free uniforms

PUBLISHED: 15:29 12 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:29 12 July 2019

Town Close School in Norwich is renaming its uniforms from September to take out gender terms. Picture: Town Close School

Town Close School in Norwich is renaming its uniforms from September to take out gender terms. Picture: Town Close School

Town Close School

Parents sending their children to a Norfolk school in the new academic year will not be choosing boys' or girls' uniforms for them.

Town Close Preparatory School in Norwich is making its uniforms gender-less, in response to an increase in queries from parents about how the school will support children who identify as a different gender or are considering a change.

As of September, there will be a skirt/dress uniform and a shorts/trouser uniform rather than the traditional girls' and boys'. The composition of the uniforms will not be affected.

In a letter to parents, headmaster Nicholas Bevington said children had been able to wear either version of the uniform for a number of years, but that the pupil-led school council had come to the decision to rename the uniforms during discussions about schoolwear over the summer term.

He said: "It was felt that the previous terms, linked to gender, made some children feel uncomfortable to exercise their choice.

Town Close School headmaster Nicholas Bevington. Picture: Town Close SchoolTown Close School headmaster Nicholas Bevington. Picture: Town Close School

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"The school council feels that the change in name will empower all pupils to wear the version of the uniform in which they feel most comfortable, understanding that pupils choose one or the other in its entirety."

Full details of the skirt/dress and shorts/trouser uniforms will be available online over the summer holiday. Updated versions of the school's sports uniform will also be published, under the names of different sports.

Mr Bevington added: "As a school, we feel proud of our pupils and the way they have made their voice heard on the subject of a suitable uniform with such sensitivity and thought."

The changes comes amid a continuing push for equality for the LGBT+ community in the UK.

In June the Guardian newspaper reported that transphobic and homophobic hate crimes had surged by 144pc between 2013/14 and 2017/18.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York, which ignited the international gay rights movement.

What is your school doing to be inclusive for LGBT+ pupils? Email bethany.whymark@archant.co.uk

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