At least 40 secondary schools in the UK have banned girls from wearing skirts in favor of “gender neutral” options, the British media says citing an analysis of uniform policies across the country.
According to the UK media, further schools are now considering to impose “gender-neutral” uniforms, which are more inclusive of transgender pupils.
“One of the schools to have made the move last year is Priory School in Lewes, East Sussex, after pupils questioned why boys and girls should have to wear different clothing and stressed the importance of ensuring transgender students feel comfortable.
At Copleston High School in Ipswich, skirts feature on a list of unacceptable items of clothing alongside “skinny jeans and facial piercings,” the Sunday Times reports. All pupils at the school must wear “plain grey trousers.”
Meanwhile, at Woodhey High School in Bury, skirts have been banned because they can be “undignified and embarrassing” for staff and visitors when girls sit on the floor in assemblies and drama classes.
Eight secondary schools in Ipswich now ban skirts, meaning that the majority of girls attend “trouser-only” schools.
There are also bans in schools in Leeds, Grimsby and Bradford, where some schools with a high proportion of Muslim pupils do not allow skirts for modesty reasons,” The Independent says.
The Daily Mail provides a quote of Tony Smith, head of Priory School, from last year:
‘The reason for the uniform change initially is about equality, and decency.
Our students will all now wear the same uniform. ‘It is a much more decent uniform and it is far less likely to lead to abuse.
‘It is a gender neutral uniform, and we’ve thought carefully about that, ensuring that is was gender neutral.
‘We have transgender students in the school and we have an increasing number of students who are at that crossroads of understanding around their gender.”
According to Diane Burdaky, whose daughter Annabelle is in Year 8, also quoted by The Daily Mail, parents were never consulted about the changes.
“There was no letter or email. No word or consultation from the school at all.”
“My problem is why this has happened. I can’t think of any reason why girls shouldn’t wear them. For years girls have rolled their skirts up as soon as they’ve left the house. We all used to do it.”