Friday, September 01, 2006

School Uniforms

I’m a Canadian. When I grew up the school uniform was a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and a pair of running shoes. None of us looked alike, but we were essentially all wearing the same thing. Everyone went to the school was closest to them. It felt simple

Here in the UK, Lordy, education is a minefield. Since the kids were born my wife has had us investigating all the schools that are within commuting distance. What is the latest Ofsted report say (a government agency that audits and reports on school performance), what is the infrastructure like, who’s the head teacher, how long has he or she been there, what are the teaches like, the other parents, is it diverse enough or lily white. We’ve been to open days, met with head teachers, talked to current parents, talked to previous parents, talked to anyone with an opinion really.

The one thing we didn’t investigate? School uniforms.

Pirate Pete has got to an age where he has to change schools (he’s only seven, but on he moves). After huge deliberation and more than a little effort we got him into the school we thought was the best fit for him. Time will tell, but it is I think. I would have left him where he was, but all his mates had been pulled out by their parents and scattered across the county, so there was little reason to leave him. The new school will be good I think, but time will tell.

We thought all was fine until we received the regulation school uniform list. Now, I’m not actually against school uniforms. Particularly when kids become teens, it removes an element of competition, of peer pressure. When I grew up you could tell another students exact affiliation by the close they wore. That goes away with a uniform, so I think I approve.

But blimey! This list, it’s a page long. We’ve spent the last month, on and off, scouring for the exactly right football shoe, a rain jacket in the right shade of blue, gym shirts, football shirts, dress shirts, the list goes on and on in excruciating detail. I don’t know who compiled it, but I suspect severe fascist leanings. We now have two drawers dedicated to his various combinations of school cloths. All depending on what he’s doing when. Screw the cost, its going to be a logistical nightmare to figure out what he’s supposed to wear on which day.

This parenting lark is hard enough without this. Sigh…


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