Newquay school to ban skirts because pupils wear them too short

File picture of a school girl wearing a skirt as part of her uniform
File picture of a school girl wearing a skirt as part of her uniform -Credit:Getty Images

A primary school in Cornwall is looking to ban skirts because girls wear them too short. Earlier this year a secondary school did a U-turn on a plan to stop girls from wearing skirts after a backlash from parents but this is believed to be the first school for younger children to do so in the whole country.

Newquay Junior Academy in Edgcumbe Avenue, has written to parents to say that it wants to implement the skirts ban from September. If approved, the new rule would mean that girls at the school would have to wear trousers or tailored shorts instead of skirts.

The school, part of the Cornwall Education Learning Trust, is asking for parents' views on the idea. In a letter to parents, executive head teacher Craig Hayes said the skirts currently worn by many of the girls at the school are too short and now the only solution is a more gender-neutral uniform that does not encourage fads or bullying.

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He wrote: " The proposed change is that there will no longer be an option to wear skirts within our uniform policy. Instead, we are proposing that instead of a skirt, pupils will all wear either tailored black school trousers or tailored black school shorts. The rationale for this, is that we are concerned about the way that some of our girls are wearing their skirts, and this is reflected in comments from many of you, as parents and carers, but also from visitors and our community."

He added: "Some skirts are just too short, and the length is difficult to rectify and/or monitor. The length of the skirt is not in line with school uniform, and we are at a point now where this must be addressed. As such, we are reviewing the wearing of skirts for September 2024 and considering a move to trousers for all."

The letter to parents, seen by CornwallLive, adds: "We want our pupils to express their individuality through their beliefs, passions, talents, and minds and not through their clothing and image. We all know that, unfortunately, some feel pressure to customise their uniform in a way that we know none of us would encourage. Our pupils deserve to attend an academy where they feel safe and can thrive and where all are treated fairly.

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"Academy uniform creates an inclusive atmosphere because it does not differentiate pupils by background. We believe that a uniform worn without modification is the best way to ensure equality. We do not want pupils feeling vulnerable and stressed by the pressure they feel to wear the latest trend or status symbol.

"Wearing a uniform as expected, dilutes the status placed on expensive shoes, labels, or length of skirt. We strive to shift the emphasis of competition and status, to create a feeling of collective pride and of support for peers."

Parents are now being asked for their opinion on the proposal. The school said its final decision will come in after the May half term break.

The proposed decision has not gone down too well already with some parents. One mum told us: "It seems ridiculous that girls have no dress or pinafore option and to be asked to dress in a uniform that will make some girls feel uncomfortable/not themselves.

"Young girls especially in the junior school are suffering because teachers can't handle the discipline it takes to teach kids to roll down their skirt. It is unfair and a blanket ban on skirts seems crazy."

It's not the first time, schools in Cornwall - or Devon - and beyond have banned skirts, or tried to. In March this year, Launceston College announced a similar move but was forced to back down following a backlash by parents. Previously Tiverton High School in Devon said it would also ban skirts to create a "more gender-neutral uniform policy".