Peer pressure and image
An eight-year-old boy has been suspended from school for turning up to lessons with a shaved head.
His school, Ysgol Llewyelyn at Rhyl in Wales, told him he had broken school rules and sent him home.
Students look at the issues behind uniform rules and design a uniform for their teachers. They decide what it should look like and how it would be enforced.
- Learn the advantages and disadvantages of dress codes in schools.
- Develop ideas for dress codes.
Dress code quiz
Students test their knowledge of dress with this quiz.
1b, 2c, 3b, 4a, 5b, 6a, 7a, 8a, 9c
Story: Boy sent home for shaved hair cut
Read out this story to the class.
- Who should make the decisions over rules about the way that students look?
- What should be done with students who aren't prepared to stick to the rules about school uniform?
Design a uniform for teachers
Ask students to imagine that a new headmaster has taken over the school. From now on all teachers have to wear a uniform, and conform to rules governing their hair and make up.
Working in small groups, students design their teachers' new look. They should make notes and sketches to illustrate their points.
Aspects to bear in mind:
- What will the uniform look like?
- What about the rules for hair and beards?
- What about the rule for accessories like wrist bands and jewellery?
- What are the rules for make-up?
The class feedback their designs and groups compare their ideas.
Ask the class to imagine how the teachers might feel about their new uniforms.
Now tell the class that the teachers have gone on strike. The uniform has not gone down well. The teachers have all walked out. They won't come back until a new uniform has been offered.
The students have to start again. This time they have to plan how they will involve the teachers in the design process. How will the uniform differ if the people who wear it are consulted?
Students devise a new uniform for the school. They decide who will be consulted about the design and who will have the final say on how it looks.
The design must fit the following criteria:
- Uses safe materials
- Can be made to fit all shapes and sizes
- Everyone can afford it
- Should not go out of fashion
Revise the design
Return to the original teacher uniform designs.
Students think of five things that the teachers are most likely to object to.
For each of these points they must try to revise their design to overcome it.
Distribute this worksheet of comments, submitted by young people logging onto the Newsround website.
Students put a tick next to the comments they agree with, a cross next to the ones they disagree with and a question mark next to the ones they are not sure about.
They summarise the arguments and THEIR thoughts by completing these sentences:
- ... thinks... I agree with them because...
- ... thinks... I disagree with them because...
- I believe imprisoning children is...
Students can also add their comments online.
- Is it possible to have a dress code or uniform that everyone in a school likes?
- How could teachers help students express their identity but still wear a uniform?
- What most needs changing in their dress code?
Schools are entitled to insist that pupils wear a particular uniform. The uniform must be reasonable and can not discriminate on the grounds of sex or race.
If a student is continually sent home for having the wrong uniform their guardian or parents can be prosecuted.
Pupils in Fife have been told any pupil opting to wear a shell suit is likely to be banned from taking part in science class experiments and given written work instead.
Pupils at a Warwickshire school protested against plans for a uniform that they said would destroy the relaxed atmosphere at their school. Dozens of teenagers at Trinity Catholic Technology College in Royal Leamington Spa missed their first lesson in protest.
A ballot of pupils at the Wester Hailes Education Centre produced a 2-1 vote in favour of adopting a dress code at the school for the first time in its 23-year history.
For hundreds more news-based lessons, click on Teachers on the left hand side.