Page last updated at 23:55 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 00:55 UK

Schools switching to clip-on ties

Grange Hill
The "short tail and fat knot" will disappear with the clip-on tie

Clip-on ties are replacing knotted school ties as schools worry about health and safety, says a survey of school uniform suppliers.

The Schoolwear Association says 10 schools a week in the UK are switching, because of fears of ties getting caught in equipment or strangling pupils.

There are also claims that clip-on ties can stop pupils from customising the size of the knots in their ties.

Uniforms are an "instrument of social levelling," says the association.

The Schoolwear Association, the trade body for the school uniform industry, has been identifying this year's trends.

'Corporate look'

The emergence of clip-on ties is part of a growing sensitivity towards health and safety, says the association, along with modifications such as high-visibility trimming on scarves.

Clip-on ties take away the risk of pupils having accidents with their knotted ties.

Schools have raised concerns about ties catching fire in science lessons, getting trapped in technology equipment or ties getting caught when pupils were running.

Clip-on ties also allow schools to create a more standardised appearance, says the association, stopping pupils from being more creative in how they wear their ties.

"There is little opportunity for pupils to style their tie with short tails and fat knots - as seen in programmes featuring schoolchildren such as Hollyoaks and Grange Hill," says the Schoolwear Association.

The growing number of academies is also influencing school uniforms, says the report, promoting the idea of a smart, traditional image.

These schools often make a point of enforcing a strict uniform policy - and the association predicts that this more "corporate look" will filter out to other schools.

"These schools are using uniform to make a statement to their pupils and to the wider community that they mean business.

"The Schoolwear Association anticipates that other schools will start following where the academies lead to avoid being left behind."

There has also been a return to "houses" in many schools and this is also having an impact on school clothing, with ties and polo shirts being produced in house colours.

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