MyDaughter blog

What’s going on out there and who thinks what about it?
Opinion and observation on all aspects of raising and educating girls in today’s world...

  • School skirts - when is short too short?

    So St Aidan’s High School in York and St Alban’s in Suffolk have banned girls from wearing skirts in school and have insisted their girls all wear trousers. (It doesn’t seem that long since girls were fighting for the RIGHT to wear trousers in school….) Various schools are sending letters to parents complaining that the current fashion for wearing school skirts which are as short and tight as possible is causing an unacceptable distraction in school. A Scottish school head who linked the girls’ skirt length with the issue of the danger of sexual attack has caused outrage from Rape Crisis Scotland.

    This is a difficult one. When I attended school in the 1960s and early 70s the fashion for very short mini-skirts (thank you, Mary Quant) meant that we, too, wore some potentially distracting garments. However, I do feel that the current preference for very short, tight skirts and tight, revealing shirts, is becoming more of a problem for schools. Tesco have been criticised this summer for selling a school skirt which is only 29.5 cm long.

    As a teacher and latterly a Head I have always felt that there are far more important issues for educational professionals to spend time dealing with than the length of a skirt or the height of a heel. But I also feel that we are responsible for educating young people about what is appropriate in terms of appearance AND conduct, and insisting on wearing skirts which allow everyone a view of your underwear, especially when you sit or climb stairs, just isn’t appropriate for the school or the workplace. On ‘own clothes days’ girls need to think about choosing an outfit which is suitable for a work environment, not wearing something which is designed to turn heads in a club. And parents need to work with schools on this one. Don’t be persuaded by the ‘…but everyone else is and it isn’t fair…’ argument. Help us to help girls to get it right.
    Jill Berry

    Posted by Jill Berry

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Your comments

i’d like to be able to buy my daughter a skirt which is over the knee for school, but cannot get one anywhere! I work for M&S and they dont even sell skirts that taller girls can wear that would sit appropriataly over the knee! Blame the manufacturers too, they are the ones who are making the skirts!

By larainemarie1965 on Thursday 13 October 2011

My Daughter goes to an all girls school and has a choice of trousers or skirt,most of the girls wear skirts,which are more like gym skirts then normal school skirts and these are what the school says they have to wear. If I had my way she would be in trousers every day,but said she would be picked on if she did not wear a skirt like the rest of the girls.

By Lisa west on Wednesday 24 November 2010

Why should we insist on girls wearing skirts as school uniform? Many of us adult females in the working environment would choose to wear trousers most of the time, even female teachers. My daughter spent the whole of her junior school life wearing trousers because she had the choice. Now at secondary school she has to wear a skirt, which she is accepting as she is keen to fit in and not stand out. The length of skirts at her school do seem to reduce as age increases and whilst it may be “uniform” it doesn’t look “tidy” through the school. I don’t think we can insist on every girl wearing trousers and I would not like to see the insistance on wearing them used as some form of punishment. I would be very happy to see trousers as part of a recognised uniform and possibly encouraged to be worn for certain activities or trips out. I agree that we should encourage girls to make the correct choices about suitable clothing for certain situations and I think trousers are a legitimate choice that they should be able to make at school.

By NJB on Tuesday 5 October 2010

My daughter’s school have a very simple but efective policy to combat this issue.
If a teacher sees a uniform skirt too short inside or outside school, the parents are advised that a new one is surely needed and will be added to the school bill.
Parents, and we did, duly deduct cost from pocket money allowance.

By NickFletcher on Wednesday 29 September 2010

I am a former pupil of St Aidan’s. When I heard this story on the news I was outraged. This puts womens issues back to the 1980s. If girls are making their skirts shorter on the way to school (which is what has been said by the School) to an unacceptably short length then this is clearly a parenting and School issue. Skirts should not be “banned”. Having a short skirt does not make young women more attractive to sex offenders. By banning skirts St Aidans are planinly saying that the choice of clothes that women wear make them more of a target for predatory males. Therefore they are responsible. This sends out the wrong message to our young women. Shouldn’t we be getting upset about brands like Playboy selling clothes and stationary to girls as young as five? They are remember, a brand whose business is the exploitation of women.

By burtring on Sunday 26 September 2010