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  School uniform
Updated 21 July 2004, 17.09
School girls in uniform

PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Identity, image and self awareness


Teachers at a school in Wales are wearing clothes that match the school uniform.

Students design a uniform for their teachers. They decide what it should look like and how it would be enforced.

Learning aims
  • Learn the advantages and disadvantages of dress codes in schools.

  • Develop ideas for dress codes.

Teaching ideas

1. Icebreaker

Click below to read the story:

Ask the class:

  • Who should make the decisions over school uniforms?

  • What should be done with students who aren't prepared to wear school uniform?

    Click here for kids' comments to read out, rank or vote on.

2. Main activity

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 are the rules for make-up?

Feedback the designs and compare different groups' ideas.

Get the class to try and imagine how the teachers may 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
  • Hard-wearing
  • Should not go out of fashion

3. Extension activity

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.

4. Plenary

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?

5. Teachers' background

  • 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.

  • The school is introducing a uniform ending a tradition of casual clothing.

  • 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. Head teacher Alex Wood said: "Six months ago I was approached by some of our second-year pupils.

  • "There was some bullying and name-calling going on around who was wearing what kind of clothes, and whether they were brand name or cheap.

  • "Their view was that some uniform system would reduce that."

For all links and resources click at top right.

More InfoBORDER=0
UKTeachers copy children's uniform
Find OutWho picks the uniform?
ChatWhat are your school uniform rules?
ClubWe designed our own school uniforms!


Past StoriesBORDER=0
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Children say no to school uniform
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Girl loses fight to wear jilbab



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