Following a report that over 80 pupils at a school in Stoke-on-Trent were put in isolation for not having the correct trousers, the debate between parents and teachers over school uniforms has reignited.
Strict school uniform rules have frustrated parents around the country who believe that their children should be allowed some degree of flexibility with regard to uniforms. UK charity shops have already warned that they are understocked with uniforms this year due to the added demands that they are facing this year.
According to Hannah Parson, Principle Associate Solicitor at DAS Law, a school is entitled to have rules requiring pupils to wear school uniform. A large number of schools will have a home school agreement, which is entered into on joining the school. The agreement dictates that parents and pupils must comply with the school’s behaviour and appearance policy.
Schools also have the right to discipline pupils for not complying with school uniform rules, but they are expected to factor in any reasonable requests to vary uniform policy to ensure that it does not lead to discrimination, particularly on grounds of gender, race, disability, religion or sexual orientation.
The Department for Education’s guidance strongly encourages schools to have a uniform, and in its guidance, the department also recommends that governing bodies should take into account the views of parents and pupils as well as costs when making decisions.