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Handy hints

Parents and teachers generally like school uniform. But they often dislike the confrontations that can arise from uniform rules.

* Lay down the rules firmly to new pupils, but involve the students in a discussion about why parents and the school want them in uniform.

* Set an example with the way you dress.

* Display a copy of the rules in your classroom.

* Don't let a uniform dispute interrupt the lesson. Take it up at the end. If it becomes a serious confrontation, refer to senior management.

* Parents are almost always on your side with this, but if they challenge you, always refer the argument upwrds.

* Keep your own stock of "quick fix" materials such as spare ties and make-up remover. Don't force these on students, but they can be helpful once they've agreed to comply.

* If you have a good relationship with your tutor group, you should be able to resolve problems amicably - you'll be seen as keeping your group out of trouble rather than getting them into it.

* If teachers and tutors are continually involved in uniform disputes, the problem is likely to lie deeper within the ethos of the school. Make this point to management.

Gerald Haigh

Next week: working with a classroom helper

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