As part of a ‘gender neutral’ policy to make transgender students feel more at home, a secondary school in Oxfordshire, England, has banned its boys from wearing shorts during summers and suggested that they could wear skirts instead. The new uniform policy of Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common declares that students can wear only trousers or skirts.
The school has rejected requests by parents inquiring whether their wards could wear tailored shorts in warmer weather instead of trousers. Alastair Vince-Porteous, the parent who made the request to Chiltern Edge, told the Mail: “I was told shorts are not part of the uniform. It’s a shame we can’t be more grown up about it, we aren’t asking for ra-ra skirts or skinny jeans, just grey tailored shorts for two months a year, it’s not a big deal. I know that in the past other schools have worn skirts so I asked if my son was able to do that – and the school said yes.” Another parent said it was ‘nuts’ to make students wear ties and blazers in summers.
The popularity of Gender neutral Uniform Policies has increased since the implementation of the Equality Act, 2010, which makes it mandatory for schools to protect transgenders from discrimination. The Guardian reported that according to the charity Educate & Celebrate, 120 schools have adopted such a uniform policy. It’s founder, Dr Elly Barnes, said, “In our experience, primary schools are adopting [the program] faster than secondary schools. There doesn’t seem to be any type of school that’s more likely to take it up than any other, and no particular part of the country where there’s less or more take-up.”
As per reports, the decision came after Ofsted, a government organization charged with maintaining educational standards, deemed the uniform ‘inadequate’. Headteacher Moira Green said: In September 2017, with the support of parents, Chiltern Edge made the decision to move to a more formal uniform. This has been a success. Maiden Erlegh Trust, in preparation for September 2018, wholeheartedly support Chiltern Edge’s adoption of a more formal uniform.”
Last year, students at Isca academy at Exeter had protested their school’s uniform policy which forbids shorts by showing up at the school wearing skirts they had borrowed from their girlfriends or sisters or friends.