Mums: keep your 'slovenly' PJs off the playground, say teachers

5th February 2010 at 00:00
Parents' reluctance to don outerwear on the school run leads staff to back Tesco's pyjama ban

Heads, teachers and school staff have expressed sympathy for a Tesco store after it banned pyjama wearers from its premises last week.

Joe McGuinness, head of St Matthew's Primary School in Belfast, was so fed up with semi-clad parents dropping off their children at school in the morning that he sent a letter home with pupils.

Often, he said, as many as 50 mothers would turn up at the school gates in pyjamas and slippers, claiming that the task of donning outerwear was too arduous to tackle first thing in the morning.

In his letter, Mr McGuinness described the rejection of daywear as "slovenly and rude".

"Collecting children from school dressed in pyjamas is disrespectful to the school and a bad example to set to children," he said.

Last week, Tesco's Cardiff store hit the headlines after it banned customers from shopping in nightwear and slippers. The decision caused outrage among some sympathetic parents, who complained that they also had no time to "get all dolled up" while preparing children for school in the morning.

But teachers posting on The TES online staffroom are divided. While most decried the "slovenly slobs" with "no self-respect", one said: "If the weather was foul, I used to drive the kids to school. The deal was that I got up at the last minute and put my coat and boots over my nightie. Take it or leave it."

However, another contributor offered a dire warning to fellow parents who might be similarly tempted. One mother at her school wore a nightie and fluffy slippers to drop off her children. But, arriving home, she realised that she had locked herself out.

So the woman returned to school, slipping in a side entrance to recover the spare key from her daughter. Unfortunately, this door led straight into the school hall.

"There we all were, sitting in silence listening to the headteacher, when the door opened and in stepped this woman in front of an audience of hundreds," the teacher wrote.

"It was the poor daughter I felt most sorry for."


What teachers and parents on the TES forums have to say on the great pyjama debate

"It should be illegal"

- supporterx

"They are indecent slobs with no respect for themselves or others. It should be illegal to dress that way and come under the indecent exposure laws. Maybe they need carting off to mental hospitals?"

- eruditus

"It is just social and cultural conditioning, with little in the way of rationality - rather like the difference between being seen in your underwear or a bikini."

- katmandu

"There's always the worry you'll break down and have to face the AA man in your PJs."

- shalala

"If it's a choice of mum in PJs or a lateabsent child, I know which one I'd prefer."

- rihlana

"I wonder what those slobs in pyjamas would say if they were to enter the classroom, only to find their children's teachers there, dressed in their pyjamas."

- meanAverageJoe

"How long does it take to get dressed quickly? At least people who have put clothes on appear to have washed and cleaned their teeth."

- shalala

"I suspect many of the pyjama ladies have good PJs to go out in. Some of them look far too pristine to have been slept in."

- katmandu

"Isn't it a bit too cold to stand at the school gate in your pyjamas at this time of year?"

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