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The rise of the JoJo bow: a classroom menace?

JoJo bows are the latest craze – if they haven't reached your school yet, they soon will. But what are they and should you do anything about them? TES finds out

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JoJo bows are the latest craze – if they haven't reached your school yet, they soon will. But what are they and should you do anything about them? TES finds out

At first, there were just one or two. And that was fine. Quite how they fitted into the uniform policy of the school, you weren't sure, but no one had mentioned it in the staff meeting, so...

Then they multiplied. Then every girl in your class – every girl in your school – had one. Then you had a problem. 

Yes, you’ve wrapped your head around the dab and the bottle flip. You’ve made peace with the contouring trend. But now the JoJo bow is here to test you.

"Tall hair and big bows," states a primary teacher in the north of England. "The KS2 girls (especially the in-crowd) have started wearing their hair piled up in buns decorated with large bows. They are intent on making a statement."

"Some of them are ridiculous," says a Year 6 teacher in the South West. "Our school has sent boys home for a slightly dubious haircut but we have yet to challenge girls with enormous bows in their hair."

Perhaps you have been spared so far. Maybe they haven’t hit your classroom yet.  But it’s only a matter of time before they arrive, as primary teacher @magicmuinteoir points out.

Are you seeing as many of these as I am? #currentcraze #JoJoBows #edchatie

— Magic Muinteoir (@magicmuinteoir) January 22, 2017

Forewarned is forearmed, so here is a quick guide to everything you need to know about them.

What are JoJo bows?

JoJo bows are oversized bows usually worn to accessorise a high ponytail. They are available in a variety of colours and typically cost between £8 and £10.

Teachers are not the only ones taking notice of them. Parents, who are expected to shell out for the accessories, are all too aware of the trend, too.


I've just told my 8 year old daughter #jojobows are like something from the eighties. Her reply? 'What would you know about fashion?'

— James McNamara (@jimmymac100) January 14, 2017


Wow ... watching my daughter make her #Brownie promise and it's like a #jojobow convention! #thelatestcraze

— Liann Weir (@liannweir) January 23, 2017


Where did they come from?

JoJo bows are actually nothing new. Similar styles, usually called 'cheer bows' or 'dance bows' have been around for years, worn by competitive dancers, gymnasts and cheerleaders. However, the current trend is being driven by a 13-year-old dancer called JoJo Siwa – hence the new name.

Who is JoJo Siwa?

Siwa featured in the American reality show Dance Moms, which follows the ups and downs of young dancers and their families, as the children compete against one another.

Since first appearing on the show in 2015, Siwa has amassed 4.5 million followers on Instagram and has released a music single called Boomerang on YouTube. She has reportedly left the show, but still has an accessories line stocked by Claire’s Accessories, which includes the colourful dance bows that she is known for wearing.

Is it something to be concerned about?

As playground trends go, the JoJo bow is a relatively harmless one. The biggest challenge that teachers are likely to face with it are the inevitable arguments about school-uniform policy.

TES behaviour columnist Tracey Lawrence advises that, before trying to enforce the uniform policy, you check that the specifics of what can and can’t be worn have been clearly communicated to parents and to all members of staff.

“Without this communication, there is reason for misunderstanding and conflict when enforcing your rules,” she says.

Sometimes, parents my need nothing more than a simple reminder about what is expected in terms of uniform. When this is not enough, a sensitive discussion with the child might work instead.

“There is no need to challenge in public and I would suggest that you didn't. A quiet word with a child may be all that is required for them. It may even be an option to discuss uniform expectations alongside the behaviour expectations in a termly assembly,” Lawrence says.

Where uniform is concerned, she adds, the key is to always take a consistent approach.

Of course, it may be that your school would rather ride out the trend until it inevitably crumples and morphs into the next big thing. And if you believe you can't beat them, you might as well join them. 


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