The decision to introduce a new uniform for pupils at Cavendish School has caused some controversy and ill-feeling, with a plethora of arguments for and against the new proposals. The desirability of or necessity for school uniform is often a burning issue, and although
I have no wish to become embroiled in the pros and cons of this particular school’s uniform dictates, I would take issue with some points made by Laura Stefanidou in ‘Best of the Web’ [Herald, April 1].
Contrary to her opinion, a school uniform in my view is important, giving pupils a clear sense of belonging to a particular educational establishment and instilling in them a pride that , it is hoped, accompanies that sense of identity. In my experience, a school that sets much store by its pupils’ dress code is nearly always one that makes appropriate demands of its charges in terms of both academic standards and general discipline.
It is certainly invidious when one retailer has the monopoly of supplying items of school uniform at correspondingly inflated prices, but it is often the case that a school uniform can actually work out cheaper in the long run than a non-uniform outfit. Furthermore, school uniform gives pupils an equality of attire that would otherwise not apply because the alternative can often tempt young people to pursue must-have clothing labels in a type of sartorial one-upmanship that is socially divisive.
No doubt the arguments will rumble on, but I remain convinced that there is a direct correlation between pupils’ appearance, their behaviour, and their commitment to school life.
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