A school in Sussex has ruled that all students must wear grey trousers for the start of the new school year, in response to complaints about girls skirt length.
The Priory comprehensive school in Lewes has also brought in the measure so that transgender pupils at the school can feel included.
Speaking to a local paper, headteacher Tony Smith said that he wanted to enforce gender equality and neutrality in his school.
‘Pupils have been saying why do boys have to wear ties and girls don’t, and girls have different uniform to boys,’ he explained. ‘So we decided to have the same uniform for everybody from year 7. Another issue was that we have a small but increasing number of transgender students and therefore having the same uniform is important for them.’
The website states that trousers must be ‘formal, suit-like trousers – no fashion trousers, chinos, jeans nor cargo pants’ and that shoes must be ‘totally black, flat shoes (not boots) with no additional colour whatsoever, eg: no coloured panels, stitching, laces, logos, eyelets or other embellishments.’
The Priory school has a number of high profile alumni, including Piers Morgan, who raised the debate on Good Morning Britain earlier this week.
‘It’s disappointing to see one of my old schools getting sucked into this gender neutrality nonsense, which is being driven by a tiny minority of people,’ he said. ‘Let boys be boys and girls be girls, and stop confusing them in this ridiculous way.’
‘I presume all female Priory teachers will now also be banned from wearing skirts on gender neutral grounds (which would also be absurd) – or is it one rule for them and another for the students?’
However, there are plenty in support of the move, with a spokesperson from Mermaids UK, a charity that supports transgender children and their families, arguing it was a step forward for diversity.
‘Adding gender neutral uniforms is one of many simple ways that schools can help any pupils struggling with their gender in any way, plus sends a clear message of acceptance and inclusivity,’ said chief executive Susie Green.