Sunday, 11 September 2016

Uniform Matters

I have been a guest contributor on various radio programmes this week discussing the puerile protests by parents at Hartsdown Academy in Kent because their offspring have been sent home by the new Head teacher, Matthew Tate, for wearing incorrect school uniform. These complaining fools are unable to recognise that nothing does more to undermine the effective running of a school than this sort of selfish, misguided behaviour.

There are plenty of things parents are entitled to complain about on behalf of their children, such as persistent bullying/poor teaching/being in the wrong set for a particular subject. However, any complaints parents do have must be proffered behind closed doors with the Head in a constructive, mature manner.

As far as wearing a smart uniform is concerned, because the teaching and learning process is a formal one, then what the pupils wear should reflect this. But even if the wearing of a particular uniform was deemed by many to be surplus to requirements, if the pupils know what the rules of the school are, they should abide by them; it is the slippery slope to allow pupils and parents to pick and choose which rules they agree with.

I believe smart attire at school links in with discipline, respectful behaviour and good manners. This in turn is inextricably linked with feelings of security, contentment and academic success. A school uniform crosses all social divides and this is appropriate in a school environment which is one of equal opportunities.

But regardless of any of the reasons for and against wearing a specific school uniform, I wish these parents could start acting responsibly and take a united stance with the school's position. If they cannot see that it is their own children who will pay the price of the discord resulting from these pathetic, misguided public protests, then they need to go back to school themselves.

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