Don't swallow myths about power of uniform

27th August 2004 at 01:00
I am the head of a large comprehensive that shares the same name as Geoff Barton's school ("Is Clarke right on uniform?", TES, July 23). Sadly we have nothing else in common.

In September 2003 we became a no-uniform school and one year later and with no surprise it has been a success. The rhetoric that Mr Barton uses smacks of the Daily Mail.

The decision to abandon uniform was a brave step by the governors and there was considerable resistance from the parents and the local community. The usual emotive and unfounded evidence was thrown at us in a similar way to the points raised by Mr Barton. People selectively quote statistics, ignoring the ones that question uniform and completely ignoring the views of the students.

We consulted widely with the student body who were more thoughtful and reflective than a number of their parents.

To all those schools that are considering getting rid of uniform let me reassure you that it has not created fashion wars and behaviour has not deteriorated.

Students are proud of their school. There has not been one incident of dress-related bullying and the regular confrontations between teachers and students about uniform are a thing of the past.

A significant distraction to our core task of learning and teaching has been removed. We are more confident with students who are happier without the uniform, and the whole place is a more attractive and normal environment.

Don't be fooled by the likes of Messrs Barton and Charles Clarke. The civilised world does not stop when you abandon school uniform.

Stephen Jones


King Edward VI Community College

Totnes Devon

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