No uniform in primary schools?

With another school year just about finished most parents are looking forward to the long school summer break; a break from the everyday school run, daily packed lunch duties and keeping on top of the regular admin tasks – even if systems such as ParentMail have made that a whole lot easier and more convenient these days. But the summer holidays also bring a not so welcome event – school uniform shopping!

Most major clothing retailers are already beginning to fill their aisles with ‘back to school’ apparel and accessories, giving most parents the usual uniform ‘quandary’:

Buy uniform early, as there will be more selection, but it may not fit by September.

Or

Risk leaving it to the last minute when the pickings will be slim, but it’s more likely to fit.

But what if primary schools were to decide against enforcing school uniform at all? Would this hinder or benefit our impressionable children and what are the risks of allowing them to wear their own clothes to school every day?

Uniform benefits

One of the major benefits of having a strict uniform policy is that it removes social snobbery and peer pressure from learning environments and allows children from even the most financially challenged families to look just like everyone else.

Social hierarchy on the basis of who has the best ‘designer’ outfit is much less likely and children are free to pick friendship groups because of who they like as a person rather than what they’re wearing. It’s a sad statistic that in America, where the majority of schools do not have a uniform, approximately 160,000 children miss school every day for fear of being bullied or attacked by other students.

School uniform in primary school age children also instills a sense of discipline. Looking smart and presentable are essential skills for later life, therefore teaching a child how to knot a tie or button up a shirt stands them in good stead for the future.

Creating a sense of community is another very valid reason for enforcing uniform; just like a professional sports team wears identical clothes, school uniform creates a sense of belonging and togetherness. Additionally, wearing the school emblem gives pupils a sense of pride.

Uniform drawbacks

In today’s financially stretched world, the cost of purchasing or updating a school uniform can be crippling for some families. The average cost of a uniform for a primary school aged child is £156 so it’s easy to see why parents with more than one child struggle to meet this cost every year.

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