West Country primary school wants to ban skirts because they're 'too short'

A primary school in the South West has written to parents to say that it wants to implement the skirts ban from September
A primary school in the South West has written to parents to say that it wants to implement the skirts ban from September -Credit:PAUL GILLIS / Reach PLC

A primary school in Cornwall is considering a ban on skirts because it believes they are being worn too short by girls. Rows over skirts and uniform policies have become more frequent over recent years at secondary schools across the country, but Newquay Junior Academy, located in Edgcumbe Avenue, may be the first primary school to condsider such a move.

Newquay Junior Academy has contacted parents and carers about plans to enforce the skirt ban starting this September. Should this proposed rule get approval, it would require girls attending the school to abandon skirts and opt for trousers or tailored shorts instead.

The educational institution, which is part of the Cornwall Education Learning Trust, is currently encouraging feedback from parents regarding this proposed change. In his letter addressed to the parents, Executive Head Teacher Craig Hayes expressed that many of the school's girls wear their skirts too short and beleived implementing a more gender-neutral uniform policy will discourage fads and bullying, reports Cornwall Live.

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He said: "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.

"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.

"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."

The note continues: "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."

It has now reached a stage where parents are being invited to share their views on this proposition. The school has confirmed that the final verdict will arrive after the May half term break.

However, certain parents have already voiced their dissent with the suggested decision. Echoing the resentment, one mum remarked: "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."

She added: "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."

This isn't an isolated case; schools in Cornwall, Devon, and beyond have ventured upon banning or attempting to ban skirts prior to this as well. Case in point, earlier in March this year, Launceston College declared a somewhat similar initiative only to rescind following a pushback from parents.

Similarly, Tiverton High School in Devon previously stated its intent to ban skirts so as to establish a "more gender-neutral uniform policy".