Saturday, 6 November 2010

The One Where I'm a Mum

I think we've all got our own views on school uniform. When I was at primary/junior school I didn't have to wear a uniform at all. As I was there during the 70s, unfortunately this meant purple trousers, pink tops, hand me downs from neighbours, tank tops and hand knitted jumpers and cardigans courtesy of my mum. If it hadn't been for the late years consisting of gypsy tops and skirts I'd have begged for a school uniform. Just so I didn't look like a complete twit who was always slightly out of step with what the other girls wore, and sometimes adrift by five years or more.

Which is a lot when you're only eight.

When I went to comprehensive school there was a compulsory school uniform which, during my first year, consisted of a dark brown skirt, gold blouse, dark brown v-necked jumper, brown and gold striped tie and a dark brown blazer.

I looked not unlike a Werthers Original.

I've had my colours analysed subsequently - I'm a Winter. Do you know what colours are good for a Winter? Red - crimson and scarlet. Purple. Dark green - emerald and jade. Do you know what colours are bad for a Winter? My entire school uniform.

Still I knew my son wouldn't have this problem when he went to senior school last year. Firstly he doesn't have my colouring, and secondly because his uniform was a very simple black, white and grey. How can anyone possibly go wrong with that I thought? And it seems as though I was partly right - he doesn't have any trouble at all. When I see his friends they all seem to look reasonably OK. Well as OK as boys look - a bit rumpled, with a bit of mud on them, slightly untucked and with the tie all askew or hanging out of their pockets. Fairly standard.

So what is it with girls and school uniforms? When I read in the paper this week about all the kerfuffle at a school in Bristol I was shocked. Apparently this school has found it necessary to ban a certain make of trousers as they're too revealing, too distracting and too figure-hugging. Also the school have found it appropriate to comment that they don't suit all body shapes.

Well no sh*t Sherlock.

I've had a look at these trousers, and I can sort of see what they mean. They're incredibly nice to look at and I can see how girls of a certain age will be all over them. They'll be able to look really fashionable, they'll feel cool and they won't feel like they're wearing a uniform at all which is I suppose the ultimate aim. But the school has decided that these trousers are banned and are giving the children spare trousers when they arrive in them.

Beg pardon?

In my day, if you rocked up to school in trainers instead of shoes, you were sent home and no messing. Nobody stood at the school doors with spare pairs of shoes to hand out. How on earth can they possibly manage to do this? Do they buy the trousers in 8 different sizes? 3 different lengths? 20 pairs in each of those categories? Because unless they do, I can't see how they're improving on what they had before and the whole issue starts to take on the air of the forgotten PE kit debacle when you have mismatched socks, shorts that don't fit you, and a dirty boy's top.

So I really can't get my head round this at all. I've always thought a school uniform would level the playing field, that you ruled out the mickey taking of blouses that looked like they were made out of sofa covers. Instead it just seems to create a whole new load of problems - or is that only for girls?

So where do you stand on school uniform? Prefer the standard issue, or long for the striped trousers and flowery top freedom?


  1. Came over from Kate Takes 5. Ah, school uniform. Well, I'm a teacher, and all I can say is, last week when we had a no-uniform day, the girls in my class were saying what a pain it was because it took them AGES to choose what to wear, whereas normally they just throw on their uniform and run. But even with the uniform, they find ways of 'adapting' it to make it their own. We can't win.

  2. I vote for school uniform because I am old fashioned enough to think that school should be about the brain and not the body i.e the focus must be on education and not outdoing each other in the fashion stakes.

  3. Love Kate Takes 5s last post! Very true, well done.

    I'm a big uniform fan, so much easier. Although mine was hideous - a khaki wool tunic over a white shirt and tie, and long woolly khaki socks with brown shoes. And that wasn't all, our PE uniform was a short brown dress with our initials embroidered onto them (eh???) with matching brown bloomers. BLOOMERS for gods sake!! It's a wonder I turned out normal. Well, kind of normal.

    But since my son started nursery with a very basic uniform, I am a fan.

  4. I'm with Fran! I spent many years rebelling about uniform as a kid. Then I became a teacher. Non uniform day was always a nightmare. But then so were the endless battles about skirt length and shirts being tucked in...

  5. Totally agree with the uniform option. My only problem is that I was bullied by girls from a neighbouring school on my way home who wore a red uniform, and I've always hated red ever since. So, guess what colour my kids had to wear at Wimbledon park school? Yep. The we moved to Bucks. Seer Green school. Yes, you've guessed it. Thank God my kids don't have red hair tho' - that would be too much!