Simple, affordable and inclusive school uniform policies | CPAG

Simple, affordable and inclusive school uniform policies

Liz Bain and Pupils
Published on: 
11 December 2019
Written by: 

Liz Bain
Acting Head Teacher, Keith Grammar School

At Keith Grammar School in Moray we firmly believe that school wear not only encourages young people to be aspirational and responsible, but also helps them feel part of our school community and ready for the business of the day: learning.

We believe school wear should be SIMPLE, AFFORDABLE and INCLUSIVE.

In session 2017-18 we consulted pupils and families about school wear and to reduce cost and replacing items so often, we decided to go for all black jumpers instead of the old system where s1-3 wore navy sweatshirts. However, navy sweatshirts are still acceptable until they wear out or are outgrown- whichever comes first! I feel that we should be as flexible as possible as families have enough to worry about and find money for without recreating a school wear policy which is going to cost people more.

In session 2018-19, having attended the Moray Cost of the School Day Conference, I decided to reduce the cost of school wear by removing school logo jumpers from our policy which makes it easier and cheaper for families to source black sweaters/ cardigans.

Since August 2016, Parent Council funds have allowed us to supply ties to students, and particularly, Prefects. We have also used Pupil Equity Funding to provide jumpers/ shirts for those in need of these items. If there is a difficulty with meeting any part of our school wear policy our families are encouraged to contact the appropriate Principal Teacher of Guidance. School can help in various ways with individual circumstances or difficulties. We also refer families to Moray School Bank who can help with school wear items and school bags etc.

We launched ‘Our Relational Approach’ this session which replaces our old discipline policy. At the heart of this is the importance of relationships and the last thing we want to do is make young folk feel unwelcome because of what they are wearing or can afford to buy to wear to school. We also aim by having a flexible school wear policy to reduce conflict and arguments about the right clothing, jackets in classes and so on. There used to be many minor conflicts about hats and scarves being worn into the building but we decided by consensus that we would simply ask for them to be removed before pupils reach class and asked teachers to calmly reinforce this by asking politely and assertively to remove them and point out our consistent expectations.

We reduced our number of rules and expectations regarding behaviour to 3 key points READY, RESPECTFUL and SAFE and have linked our school wear policy to this. All pupils are required to remove outdoor items (jacket, scarves, hats etc) before entering the classroom and so, coat pegs and lockers are available to store outdoor items during the day and some classrooms have coat pegs at the entrance. This can avoid safety issues in lessons such as techy and HE but it also indicates respect and readiness to work.

Pupils feel that our policy is simple and easy to get right and parents appreciate that we have tried to reduce the cost and make life simpler. As a school we feel we are helping and working together with our families to reduce the cost of the school day.