Ipswich school set to ban skirts

A SCHOOL in Ipswich is on the verge of banning skirts after an “uphill struggle” to make all pupils wear their school uniform in an “appropriate” way.

IPSWICH: A school in Ipswich is on the verge of banning skirts after an “uphill struggle” to make all pupils wear their school uniform in an “appropriate” way.

The Evening Star can reveal St Albans High School, in Digby Road, has set out proposals to introduce a new school uniform for the start of the next academic year, in September.

But some pupils have voiced their concerns and signed up to an online petition group on the social networking site Facebook.

The group Petition to keep skirts at St Albans, has so far attracted 150 members.

A statement by the group's creator, a pupil, said: “St Alban's are getting rid of skirts and making us wear trousers so join the petition to stop it.”

One current female student, who asked not to be named, said the move had proved “very unpopular.”

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She said: “None of the girls are very happy about it, they do not want to be forced to wear trousers especially in the summer. Introducing the school badge to the collars of our shirts and on our ties is a bit extreme, it is already on our blazers.”

But yesterday Alison Turner, school manager at St Albans defended the proposals.

She said the plan is for all girls to wear trousers and they are also considering introducing a shirt and tie with a logo.

Parents at the school have been consulted via several letters seeking their opinions, so far giving their approval for the plans.

“The school has had an uphill struggle trying to make all pupils wear their clothing in an appropriate way for school,” Mrs Turner said: “It has proved very, very difficult and it is felt that if girls are wearing trousers we can take out a lot of that uphill struggle. Everyone will be dressed in an appropriate way and therefore everyone can focus on what they are here for as everyone will be looking smart.”

The new shirts and ties with logos on are also being proposed to increase the school's identity as well as smarten up the uniform.

Addressing the concerns raised about girls having to wear trousers, Mrs Turner said she thinks it is not unreasonable to ask girls to wear trousers in this day and age.

She added: “We have a non-uniform day today and a significant number of the girls are wearing trousers, I think they will appreciate the smarter feel of them, and when they start to wear them I think they will feel more comfortable.

“Their male counterparts have to wear trousers in the summer and this will just mean the girls will be on the same footing as them.”

What do you think of banning girls wearing skirts at school? Contact our newsdesk on 01473 324788 or write to Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.

In 2004 the Evening Star revealed how Kesgrave High School became the first school in the country to ban skirts. Head of Govenors at the time, Margaret Young said the decision was taken as hemlines had risen to an “inappropriate” level that was impractical as well as immodest.

Speaking at the time the head teacher George Thomas, who has since left the school, said it was down to a matter of impracticality.

He said: “There is a tendency for some girls to wear really short skirts. Kesgrave has a huge percentage of pupils who cycle to school and some of the things we are seeing the girls wearing at the moment are not suitable for this, or for an active curriculum.

“Rather than have teachers continually shout at the girls for wearing short skirts we are switching to a new uniform.”

The new uniform saw the traditional shirt and tie combination replaced with a polo shirt, featuring the school crest and a navy-blue sweatshirt also featuring the school crest as well as introducing trousers for girls.