Priory School, in East Sussex has banned female students from wearing skirts after changing their uniform policy to become gender neutral. The decision to amend the policy will be implemented in September, forcing female students to wear trousers.
The school first announced the change in 2017 and has said that the new uniform policy should address issues of “inequality and decency” and would also cater to transgender students. One of the reasons for the change was a concern over the length of some of the female students’ skirts.
Initially the head teacher, Tony Smith, said that the policy would only affect new students however the school has since insisted that all students must follow the new rules.
Since announcing the controversial change, Priory School has received legal threats from parents who are against the new rules.
Parents have started a petition with 209 signatures so far, in an attempt to persuade the school to revoke the policy. “This is about choice,” one signatory said. “In what other walk of life is it thought inappropriate for girls to wear skirts? Yet another way of controlling I think.”
One parent (who doesn’t wish to be named) has sent a formal legal letter to the head teacher, Tony Smith, stating that if the policy is not revoked, they will seek a judicial review.
The parent argues that the new uniform policy is “discriminatory” because it affects girls and their parents disproportionately. They have said that they are from a low-income household and will not buy their daughter the new uniform.
In the letter, the parent has called on Mr Smith to allow for a transitionary period, to give parents more time to buy the uniform and allow final year students to complete their year without having to buy new clothing.
The parent has stated that if the headteacher fails to respond or does not revoke the policy, they will be seeking a judicial review.