School Uniforms - Love them or hate them?

You must have been living in a dream if you have failed to notice that a) it's the start of a new school year and b) school uniforms (and the inability of parents to stick to it) have been in the news.

DD is now 16 and has left school. After years too numerous to count in which she just got up, put on school uniform and went to school, she is starting college. No uniform, and as far as we are aware not even a dress code! I blogged earlier in the year about how we went out to buy some clothes. And it may surprise you to know (or it may not) that I spent as much on 'some new clothes for college' as I ever did on school uniform at the start of term, in fact due to the uniform remaining the same, I was only ever replacing worn out or outgrown clothes, not 'this old thing that is no longer fashionable and any way I've worn it loads and everyone has seen it and I'm bored of it' so I suspect I'll be spending more from now on (actually not as DD is taking responsibility for her finances from now - but that's another post!)

So here is my list of reasons why I love school uniform. 

And before we meander down the 'but freedom of expression!' 'Personality!' 'Individuality!' my daughter is only at school (now college)  7 hours a day, and all the rest of the day, and at weekends, she can wear what she likes, be as individual as she likes, have a unique personality...

So I love school uniform because:
  • It's easy. You know what to buy. They know what to wear. No arguments. It just is.
  • Cost. You have to buy something, I've found uniform no more expensive than 'normal' clothes, and while you still need 'weekend clothes', you don't need as much as you do when you are wearing 'weekend clothes' all week!
  • Speed of getting ready. Maybe it's a girl thing (!) but as DD got older, what to wear became a huge deal, for school it's nice to have no debate, no "I've worn this already" or "oh Jane hates me in that" or " but I said I'd wear the blue! Everyone is wearing blue today!" (see also Mean Girls, on Wednesday we wear pink)
  • Differentiation of work and play. Some people may argue that school shouldn't feel like work but the reality is that it is and it does. Personally I don't mind that - I work and I'd rather not, it's life. It's nice to feel like you've left work behind and it's your time when you get home and take off a uniform.
  • Durability - school uniform is practical, it's rarely built for trendy fashion, it's tough, hard wearing and stain resistant. Minimal ironing (I say minimal - I mean 'no') easy wash, quick dry.
  • Every one looks the same. Rich or poor you are there in the same kit. Yes I know there is shabby uniform and posher branded blouses but on the whole you all look the same as everyone else. No bullying based on clothing (obviously there is bullying based on something else, but fashion isn't in the list)
  • Responsibility - It's never too young to learn some responsibility to yourself. Knowing where your uniform is, looking after it, making sure to get it washed and ready for Monday. No 'oh I'll just wear this then' , you need to be responsible.
  • Learning to obey rules - now I know loads of people will rail against this but the world doesn't work without rules. Where to drive, tax to pay, bin days, recycling, plenty of jobs have a dress code, or even a uniform, health workers must dress a certain way and be clean, police dress to be identified, as do other civil servants etc. Some rules are worth following and if you feel your school uniform is really terrible, form a pupil group at school and try and change it! 
  • Identification. Uniform can be a simple way to see who is a child at your school. As a teacher supervising a day out uniform can be a simple way to keep an eye on everyone (I used to love the Brownie uniform on days out when I was a helper there for this reason) in a sea of T shirts and jeans, (and other school uniforms form other schools) your school uniform can identify you.
And no, school uniform doesn't help you learn better, but it doesn't stop you learning either, and denim shorts don't help you learn better either.

Feel free to disagree (or agree!) with me on Twitter or Facebook

For the record, DD liked wearing her school uniform. (Look at that lovely hat!!)

Popular posts