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Teachers given a dressing down

Hang on to those leather elbow patches and take the mothballs out of your twinsets. The Office for Standards for Education will not be inspecting teachers' standards of dress after all.

Last week's April Fool story sent teachers scrambling for Ofsted's helpline to ask for guidance on what to wear.

But teachers were not the only ones fooled: local newspapers also called to follow up our "scoop" claiming that schools where staff have too many piercings could be placed in special measures from April 1, 2006.

An Ofsted spokeswoman laughed off the spoof and said: "The TES is obviously very well trusted by its readers."

Contributors to the paper's online staffroom were inspired by the fictional proposals to draw up their own guidelines on classroom dress code.

Leftie communist sympathisers in sandals were in no position to tell pupils to smarten up, said "Bombikea", who suggested a uniform of brown corduroy and Hush Puppies, with women having the option of wearing a Catwoman costume instead.

The merits of sandals provoked much controversy, with some defending them as the preferred footwear of Socrates, while others pointed to the philosopher's unfortunate fate.

"Annie Edmunds" recommended a purple basque, spiked heels, mask, whip and pink boa, "preferably of the constrictor variety to use on pesky kids".

Only one teacher was prepared to admit to owning a jacket with leather elbow patches, suggesting that this iconic garment may be under threat.

Female on-liner "barriesmart" claimed the record for the longest-serving items of clothing - a blouse and jumper from 1978, which she still wears to school.

Another website wag said he wished there really was a uniform for staff to avoid the inequality of men sweltering in suits in summer while women wear lighter clothes. He admitted to secretly wearing shorts under his laboratory coat one very hot summer.

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