Girls have been banned from wearing skirts at a new high school to ‘protect their modesty’ – due to glass-sided stairwells in their building.
Eleven-year-old pupils in Year Seven – both boys and girls – at Stowmarket High School, in Suffolk have been told they will have to wear trousers, a blazer and clip-on tie.
This uniform replaces the old uniform of skirts, black pullovers or cardigan previously worn by pupils.
The school initially said the new policy has been partially put in place because of the new building design.
Head teacher Dave Lee-Allen told MailOnline after visiting other schools built to the same scheme he had concerns about the glass panels and suggested bringing in uniforms with trousers for this reason.
But he said after consultation with builders reassured him there would not be a problem with ‘modesty’ issues they pressed ahead with the uniform change which has said was ‘more practical, especially for lessons like drama where pupils are sitting cross legged on the floor’.
The new rule – which does not yet apply to students in Year eight, nine, ten and eleven until the 2020 school year – has infuriated some parents.
One parent who wanted to remain anonymous told local press: ‘If this really just about glass side stairs then how come female staff are still wearing skirts? No-one believes this nonsense.
‘It’s obvious that what is really about is cracking down on girls behaving differently than boys by forcing a gender neutral dress code on them.
‘They’ve exempted teachers because they have a union, while the kids are powerless and so their views count for nothing. It’s a disgrace.’
Mr Lee-Allan said: ‘I was concerned about the new build but have been reassured by the designers that personal privacy has not been an issue in similar buildings.
‘The resultant uniform is extremely smart and cheaper than the previous version. It is also designed to be practical – for example we have now have the availability during the summer for students to wear shorts.’
Uniforms have been hitting the headlines as parents and pupils react to the beginning of the school year.
Today a mother of a girl at school in Norfolk hit out at teachers for ‘picking for picking’s sake’ after they left her teenage daughter ‘humiliated’ at school because of school uniform trousers they claimed were too tight.
Francesca Negus, 14, was ordered to choose between being placed in isolation or agreeing to put on a replacement pair of ‘Bridget Jones’ elasticated trousers from the school office.
Teachers at Dereham Neatherd High School in Shipdham ruled the teen’s trousers were too tight and broke the uniform rules at.
But mother Theresa Lee, 51 said Francesca’s trousers were perfectly appropriate – and warned the school risked making young women children worry and become anxious over their body image.
And last week a protest last week outside the gates of Priory School in Lewes, Sussex, when the school banned girls in skirts from entering because it had introduced a ‘gender neutral’ uniform policy.
Girls wanted the right to wear skirts, many pupils objected to the environmental waste of discarded uniforms, and parents howled about the £110 cost of the new clothes.
Piers Morgan tweeted the school, where he attended sixth form, should allow girls to be girls and boys to be boys.