finance

School uniforms: complete necessity or total con?

Two mums battle it out over the need for school uniforms, and it gets pretty ugly.

“School uniforms make complete sense.”

By: Lisa Almond

At school I hated my uniform. The tie, the leather shoes, and pleated skirts. Bleurgh. I always wished I went to one of those cool schools in the US with no uniforms. Little did I know that just some short years later, I would come to love them. As a mother, I absolutely 100% see the value in school uniforms.

Firstly, they create a sense of belonging. Just like sporting teams have their colours, schools have their identity and colours too. A uniform allows a child to be part of the group, to feel that they belong somewhere and that they are a part of something. They wear uniforms to events, festivals and Eisteddfods and represent their community with pride. And it does not make them any less of an individual just because they are dressed the same. What if they choose to go into a career that has a strict dress code or uniform? These adults have their own personalities and traits despite their identical dress.

Along with this, uniforms are an important tool used to stop segregation and bullying. There are no brand names to compete with and no one has to show off their new attire. Everyone is equal. Some schools even have a ‘school’ bag so that brand name school bags are not an issue either. Uniforms allow children from lower socio-economic backgrounds to have a better chance of fitting in and being equally valued along their peers because they are not judged on the outfits their parents can or cannot afford to buy them.

While we’re talking about costs, uniforms are also used to raise funds for the school. Particularly if your child goes to a public school, the funds raised from uniform shops at the school go directly back to your children and their education. Everyone knows how poorly funded public schools are, and by having a uniform parents are helping fund the school without evening thinking of it as an outlay or fundraising. It’s genius.

As a parent, there are also two other major reasons I support school uniforms. The cost and the washing factor.

If my children had to wear a different outfit every single day for school their wardrobe would both cost me a fortune to buy and take me extra time to wash. At least when they wear a uniform, even if it’s an expensive one, you know it will get worn a few times a week, every week, for a year or so (sometimes more if you’re lucky). You’re getting value for money no matter which way you look at it. If they were in normal clothes that’s at least five extra outfits a week you’ll be buying and washing, per kid, and even more expense as my children beg for brand name clothes.

Pass on that. I vote uniforms stay.

“School uniforms are a complete and total con.”

By: Cinthia Pierce

Parents, there’s something you don’t know about school uniforms. They are a complete and total con.

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School uniforms are a way educators hypnotise your children into losing their individual identities. Think about it. Children are forced to look the same, dress the same and behave in the same way. They are expected to produce the same results in their work and follow endless streams of rules, many of which don’t make sense.

In short, school uniforms are brainwashing our children into completely losing themselves. No wonder so many teens rebel.

If you think my conspiracy theory is a step too far, consider this. Research has shown that school uniforms don't improve student's academic performances.  American academic, David Brunsma, looked into it and concluded that school uniform use "do not make our schools better" (you can read more about his research here.)

Not to mention the fact that in many schools, the revenue raised from school uniforms is enormous. That's right. The exorbitant prices you pay for your children's school uniforms goes straight into your school's pockets, along with your school fees and building levies and fundraising contributions. The mark ups are enormous. And those charming looking school logos? They are placed there to prevent you for sourcing your children's school uniforms from more affordable places.

Not to mention the fact that school uniforms are completely impractical and totally uncomfortable.

My daughter is forced to wear a summer tunic which doesn't provide any cover for her undies, which she accidentally flashes at everyone whenever she sits with her legs crossed. The boys fitted shorts and button up shirts sometimes look smart, but are constantly coming untucked and end up looking terrible. And don't even get me started on the winter uniforms. Both gender uniforms are incredibly uncomfortable with the tights and the ties.

Most school uniforms are ridiculously outdated and under-thought.

I wish our children could wear what they like (within reason). I wish they could choose comfortable, practical clothing in their favourite colours and styles and express themselves in this way. I wish individuality was celebrated in schools instead of repressed. I wish our children were able to find their own identities and learn about themselves, instead of being forced into conformity.

School uniforms are an over-priced conspiracy and I really wish we got rid of them, for good.

Do you think school uniforms are practical or outdated?

Want more? Try:

Two words for the mum who send her kids to school without socks.

7 realities of having a child at school.