Petition to return pencil skirts, jewellery and summer uniform.
Petition to return pencil skirts, jewellery and summer uniform.
Why this petition matters
In North Halifax Grammar School, there have recently been some changes to the uniform policy that come into immediate effect starting in September. Lots of students think this is quite inappropriate.
These changes include the replacement of free choice regarding skirts, the end to summer uniform and a ban on most jewellery.
Before, girls had been given a range of selection when faced with the type of skirt they could wear, including the type of material too. Furthermore, a majority chose to wear pencil skirts, due to personal preference. However, the school has now created a policy in which they are forbidden. The only skirt now allowed is a pleated one.
Some issues have arisen with this decision: upskirting, finance and discomfort in general. The purpose of this petition is to peacefully request these rules not to be finalised.
Despite being a criminal offence, upskirting is still very much prevalent among many schools in England, as well as ours. By only being given the choice of a pleated skirt, the risk of this behaviour is likely to be much more common. With a pencil skirt, it is not as easy to upskirt, whereas a pleated skirt can be flimsy and much easier to take advantage of, unfortunately. When wearing pleated skirts as opposed to pencil skirts, the main concern is how vulnerable girls feel walking around school, but certainly the most vulnerable when walking up stairs; an extremely normal task which no one should feel this amount of anxiety and paranoia towards. With pleated skirts, a girl has to either hold down their skirt or wear shorts to feel a level of safety around her male counterparts and even male teachers because of not just upskirting problems, but it easily blowing up in the wind.
We are aware that unfortunately there can never be a simple, straightforward solution to any problem, but what we do know is that changes to the type of skirt will not address either length or upskirting issues and there will always be this possibility, regardless of the type of skirt.
No student should be worried about this. Our school has a good support system, and many of the student population can report a problem like this, yet it doesn’t stop the behaviour from happening overall.
Not every parent has the money at hand to go out and buy a new skirt for their child. Even though the rule will be reinforced in September, and back to school shopping will be underway, many don’t get the choice to buy a brand new skirt every year for their child. Why should a student have to get a new skirt if their old one fits perfectly fine? Additionally, it can be argued that charity shops are available for those who struggle financially, but they may not have the type of skirt that the school is now demanding. It can also be argued that school can supply one, but lots of families struggle financially so how can they offer that many? Limiting it to one specific type of skirt is not effective, and could save lots of money for not only pupils but the school too. Therefore, lenience should be given to the types of skirts every pupil can wear.
3. Discomfort in general
Female students have expressed their discomfort due to these policies. It takes away their element of choice, as well as expression. There is no reasonable explanation for pencil skirts to be forbidden. They are professional, and smart and don’t make the uniform look scruffy in any manner. As well as this, pleated skirts are more prone to blow up in the wind, which is humiliating for any girl. If the length is an issue, perhaps there is an issue with a tailor or the pupil should be addressed privately.
The school’s response to the issue of skirt length in September will be, as quoted by the newsletter released, “Please note that students who do not attend school in an appropriate length of skirt will be loaned one for the day from the school’s storeroom and parents will be contacted.” Therefore, how does the type of skirt correlate to length? Students can always roll up a skirt, no matter what type it is.
Instead of sanctioning all girls, sanction those who actually have broken the rules regarding skirt length to a ridiculous extent, or at least have a conversation before humiliating them. Lots of teachers will publicly voice skirt length in corridors with not much thought to how that may embarrass someone. If it is a big problem, perhaps a conversation aside would be more helpful.
We believe that the school has the power to allow the use of pencil skirts, and this petition hopes to rectify the situation.
Another problem that has been brought up about the new rules given is the jewellery and summer uniform policies. According to the newsletter that was released on the 7th July 2022, jewellery such as certain earrings, bracelets and rings are not allowed, as well as that, the uniform has to be ‘upheld all year round’ as quoted, consequently meaning that summer uniform will no longer apply.
School council have inquired in the past on why rings are not going to be allowed in the future. The reasoning given was that they can easily catch onto things, but if this were true, wouldn’t that be the same for lanyards? It seems highly contradictive and counterproductive. The previous rule was to have one bracelet on, which was effective and made sense. Bracelets have a purpose for well-being issues, such as fidget toys, religion, such as Sikhism, and lastly, sentimental value. A watch is still allowed in the new rules, and obviously it has the purpose of providing time, but it’s not much different from a bracelet. A lot of pupils don’t understand why the rules have become so oppressive when they were seemingly fine before…
As for the summer uniform, it doesn’t make sense why this should change. If it is because of appearance around school, lots don’t agree. In summer, there can be horrible heatwaves, and being forced to wear a blazer, tie and top button all done up doesn’t seem to hold the student's wellbeing at heart. Being too warm could cause temperatures and loss of concentration. If it is affecting the learning environment then it shouldn’t be a rule. Appearance shouldn’t be able to hold a bigger value than an individual’s well-being.
Finally, thank you for reading what most of us have to say. We hope this petition will convince the school to listen to our concerns and take this constructive criticism into account and make some changes. In no way is this petition trying to rebel against any rules, however draw attention to distress that pupils hold.