Is School Uniform More Important Than Education?

15/09/2016 16:43

As millions of children returned to school in the past two weeks, one issue appears to already keep arising. School uniform. The issue has become substantial enough to feature on the news after the Headteacher of Hartsdown Academy in Kent turns away numerous pupils for wearing the incorrect uniform. What I wonder, and speaking on behalf of many is, why is wearing the correct school uniform treated as more important than the education of those who are consequently put into isolation or even completely rejected from the premises of their local school? As a result, this undoubtedly began to raise a lot of questions regarding the reliability of the teachers in the position of authority that agree with these methods.

Hartsdown Academy is not the only school that practises these harsh and unnecessary punishments for children: specifically aged 11-16 whilst attending high schools. It is particularly worrying that the environment that is supposedly there to help develop and encourage the pupils are the ones that are neglecting to give them the necessary education to succeed: all because of an item of clothing. It is understandable that the purpose of a school uniform is to unify the pupils so that everyone is equal and those who cannot afford luxurious and trendy clothing do not become exposed to bullying by their peers. Yes, rules should also be followed as a way to represent what lies ahead in the future such as in the work place and abiding by the law. Of course, it's a way of representing that defying the rules does come with consequences. What happens though, when schools don't elaborate their own rules to make them undoubtedly clear for those spending their hard earned money to provide their children with new uniform? Instead, they brush away the fact that they're in the wrong and demand that the parents pay another lot of money on new uniform AGAIN.

For many high schools, the desired dress code tends to be shirts/blouses/polo tops with the their individual logo, black trousers, knee length skirts and black smart shoes. Jeans, leggings or trainers are rightly prohibited. In the past few days in a local school, more than 20 pupils were put into 'isolation' from apparently wearing the incorrect uniform for school standards. Were they jeans? No. Were they trainers? No. Were they mini skirts? No. All of these pupils taken out of their timetabled classes and isolated in a room were all wearing trousers which were smart black trousers yet apparently too tight. I may be wrong and you may disagree, but when did schools have the right to start telling children what they can or cannot wear in regards to how fitted a piece of clothing is on them? Each child has a different shaped body and therefore each garment fits differently depending on the person. Isn't comfort more important than style? Isn't an expression of individuality more important than whether a teacher inappropriately comments on a child's pair of trousers? It is unrealistic to expect these students to grow to make their own decisions when they are not even allowed to chose their own trousers, even though they conform to what the school demonstrates as the rules regarding uniform. The students are also missing out on their lessons and placed in a room with work yet accompanied by a teacher of different expertise or worse, sent home to do absolutely nothing in relation to education.

Recently, I heard someone claim that, 'What you wear effects the way you learn'. As baffled as I'm sure many others would be to hear this, I thought how could this possible be true? As a result, I decided to use my Twitter account to conduct a poll to gain perspective of other peoples thoughts. After two hours of the poll going live, 94% of those who participated agreed that wearing the incorrect uniform does NOT effect the way a person learns. Only 6% believed that it causes distraction to their education. This clearly reflects that the majority of people disregard the opinion of those in the position of authority in schools. Instead of consistently disrupting students education to badger the pupils about their uniform, they should be encouraging them to attend every class to access the education that they need and expect to grow.

As a young woman who has experienced both school life and University, I can honestly say that I have grown a lot intellectually since leaving school, where I can wear whatever I feel fit and it has by no means interrupted my learning. In fact, it has helped me distinguish myself from others and become the person that I want to be. Hang in there all those who are being given a hard time! It will get better and you'll soon have the freedom you desire!