School bans pupils from wearing skirts in move toward ‘gender neutral’ uniform

A Devon secondary school has announced plans to ban pupils from wearing skirts in an effort towards gender-neutrality.

Tiverton High School announced the new policy to parents in a newsletter detailing various changes that the school would be making, including a move to a more “gender-neutral” school uniform.

From September, all pupils attending the school must wear trousers to adhere to the policy. It was also decided after teachers detailed a persistent problem of skirts being worn shorter than school rules permit.

Headteacher Sammy Crook assured parents that the decision was approved by governors in matters “including standards of education, parental cost, inclusivity and student health”. She also said that the decision was heavily considered before being approved.

“By moving to ‘trousers only’, we have particularly responded to the ‘trend’ for girls in the school to abuse the current policy and wear approved skirts shorter than they should,” Crook said. “It has proven time-consuming and frustrating for staff to enforce in-school and is beyond our control out of school.”

Considerations were made for parents who might find it difficult to adhere to the change, saying that they have “not limited availability of trousers to one brand” and have made several suggestions for style and size choices. Crook mentioned that “trousers should prove a cheaper option than skirts.”

The policy change does not affect students’ choice to wear shorts in the summer, nor does it disallow them for sporting activities. Exceptions can also be made for “individual circumstances,” such as medical reasons.

Several parents have questioned the school’s decision to make changes to the dress code without consulting them first. Parent Stephen Moakes spoke to The Independent, saying that he felt there “seems to be a complete lack of democracy.”

Twitter users also lambasted the decision, with one user having asked “why not just make it so that anyone can wear a skirt rather than banning the harmless things?”

Tiverton’s existing policy allows boys to wear skirts, but Crook claimed the move to trousers will “standardise” how the students dress.