THE GREAT SCHOOL UNIFORM DEBATE: MAKING US EQUAL?

A number of contributors to this site have claimed the state forcing children to wear uniforms at school will make them equal.

In an age of ever increasing inequality the claim is, of course, laughable. Although it’s a nice fit with the current corporate and technocratic “free market” agenda where evidence-free lies, artifice and appearance are promoted over simple facts or reality as our money is openly shoveled to the wealthy in exchange for worthless equalities waffle and cheap meritocratic drivel from posturing politicians and patsy bureaucrats.

But what about the children forced to be “equal” by these education bosses and their military agenda? Do they buy it? Are they as thick and gullible as the well-healed education bureaucracy making these claims?

Tony Dyer is the Green Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Bristol South. He attended Hartcliffe School in the late 70s and early 80s. Here’s his personal view on school uniforma:

When I started at Hartcliffe School there was an uniform code (blazer, school tie, etc) and the argument always used was that having an uniform meant that all the kids started from a level playing field and it reduced the pressure to “keep up with fashion”. The implication was that the kids from the poorer parts of the Hartcliffe estate (i.e me) would not be made to feel deprived because the “rich” kids from Whitchurch would be wearing the same uniform.

This was absolute nonsense of course. The fact of whether you were from the Hartcliffe council estate or from the Whitchurch private estate was the dividing line not what clothes you wore. We were always made fully aware of “our inferiority” and that there was no change in that when the school abandoned its uniform code a couple of years later.

What did change was that my parents no longer had to spend (with or without a grant) part of their limited budget on items of clothing that were only available from a restricted number of stores at prices that were higher than we would normally pay. Meanwhile the application for a school uniform grant was yet another means test that allowed some supercilious clerk to look down their nose at my parents for not being able to bring up their family without the support of the state.

I don’t have particularly strong feelings on school uniforms (although have always found it rather odd that we want to put kids into uniform as if they were all budding military conscripts)

What I do feel more strongly about is that there should be a dividing line between what teachers should have the strongest say on (i.e how to teach) and what parents should have the strongest say on (what their children should wear).

Unless teachers can demonstrate that putting on school uniform improves a child’s IQ and ability to learn, then I see no reason why school uniform should be imposed against the majority wishes of the parents who have to pay for the uniform in any case.