16th March 2017
Amendment to School Dress Code September 2017
Uniform is a key aspect for any school’s identity and therefore can prove a very emotive issue for all those involved. As you know we have spent considerable time gaining feedback into the plans to standardise and improve our uniform policy. Thank you so much to all the pupils and parents who have taken time to give feedback and record their support or raise concerns. It has been a very positive exercise, allowing all views to be aired. In a similar fashion, much debate has taken place amongst governors and the senior leadership team at Bitterne Park School to guarantee that all the views of pupils, parents and staff have been taken into account before making a decision on the way forward. It is important to us that any changes are positive in nature for the school and are aligned with the strategic development goals moving forward.
The main themes that came out of the consultation were cost considerations, phasing and policing of the current uniform. The governors believe that the key concerns that arose from the consultation have been acknowledged and acted upon within the new policy. The revised policy has been adopted by governors and we can now move forward with the introduction. In addition, consideration has also been made regarding the appointment of a new Headteacher and potential plans to move to academy status. It is necessary that any plans for the development of the uniform dovetail into future strategic goals of the school.
We have decided to develop the uniform over the next two years rather than immediately in 2017, which allows less wastage and better management by parents. However, in order to allow better policing by staff, changes will be made for next year to standardise key features of the current uniform. All pupils will wear shirts and ties in conjunction with the current sweatshirt starting in September 2017.
There cannot be ambiguity over different types of skirts or trousers as this creates a grey area for staff, pupils and parents. As a result pupils who wish to wear a skirt will move to one style only; a pleated skirt (current black model) that sits no more than 7 cm above the knee. This will ensure that skirts are kept standard and at an appropriate, modest length, addressing the feedback from parents, residents and staff who have commented upon the inappropriate nature of some of the skirts worn by pupils. However, to address cost concerns an alternative supplier has been identified to run alongside our current supplier to allow cost savings to take place on non-branded items, such as skirts and trousers. In all cases specific item codes are detailed to avoid unacceptable items from the supplier.
The question of blazers will remain a consideration for September 2018 but will not be introduced next year. This is part of a phased approach over consecutive years which mean that more time is available to look at cost considerations by putting the uniform contract out to tender. Plans for the introduction of a blazer are being postponed until the new Headteacher is in post and therefore will not be until September 2018 at the earliest. This would also allow further change of policy to be made clear to parents at the September Open Evening.
A full breakdown of the uniform expectations is included as an appendix to this letter. Consideration has been given to cost concerns and some non-branded items have been specified from another supplier to ensure cost effectiveness for parents and uniformity for the pupils. Please note that the shoe policy still requires that the trainer type shoes are phased out over the next 12 months and that polo shirts will no longer be part of the school uniform after July this year.
We feel that this amended policy is a positive step to implementing a more enforceable and smarter uniform taking into account the many views expressed over recent months.
In conclusion, can we thank Mrs McLaren for her hard work and determined approach to this particular exercise.
Chair of Governors
Please click here to view and to download the detailed uniform requirements.