Outrage at school's plan to ban students from wearing skirts

Appleton Academy in Wyke
Appleton Academy in Wyke

Secondary school students are outraged after being told they are not allowed to wear skirts from the start of the next academic year

From September 2019 the uniform policy for secondary school pupils at Appleton Academy is changing to trousers only.

A letter sent home from the head, Ms Helen Jones, stated they are banning skirts in order to create a gender-neutral uniform and to stop girls hiking skirts up to inappropriate lengths.

But girls at the school in Wyke are considering getting a petition together in a bid to reverse the decision.

The academy was placed in the 'requires improvement' category in its last Ofsted report in 2016.

It has 1,300 pupils from aged 3 - 16, but it is only the secondary pupils who are affected.

Exceed Academies Trust, which runs the school said: "A letter has been sent to parents this week and will be followed up before the end of the year informing of this change, in order to allow families as much time as possible to prepare for the start of the new school year.

"The minor policy change means that, from September 2019, the uniform for all secondary pupils is changing to trousers only.

"There are a number of reasons for this change; it is gender neutral in line with the policy in the majority of secondary schools, it simplifies the uniform and it removes the issue of pupils wearing skirts that are an inappropriate length.

"In response to the policy change, the reaction from our pupils has been very mature; they have calmly asked the reason behind the decision and politely accepted the explanation provided.

"The majority of parents have responded with positive feedback and are supportive of the change and understand the reasons for it.

"Parents have been reminded of the ways in which they can contact the school if they have a concern and we will happily support them with this change in the lead up to the end of the school year.

"A series of assemblies will be held fully informing pupils of this minor change to uniform and an additional letter will go to parents before the end of the year."

A petition has now been set up opposing the change in uniform

The campaign on change.org, started by Lesley Ellis's group The Real Student Voice Of Appleton already has more than 200 signatures

It said: "Both female and male students, parents and some teachers believe that the fact the school has decided to make wearing trousers and laced shoes compulsory for gender neutrality is a complete farce and the rule should be overturned.

"There are many reasons why we disagree with this new rule. Many girls struggle to find clothes that will suit their body type and the rule's description of ' tailored loose grey charcoal trousers' is simply not possible.

"Can I just say that Appleton academy's new rule shows no understanding for the female students that may have financial troubles, which I and many others find absurd.

"Appleton have changed the rules of either having trousers to skirts to just wearing trousers all for the cause of gender neutrality. However, this rule is not the equivalent of gender neutrality. If so, shouldn't the male students of the school be able to wear skirts? This simply does not add up.

"There was lack of communication between the parents/students and the school as not many of their own employees were informed about the change. Not only this, but only a few parents were sent letters about the change.

"Quite frankly, for 2019, I find this disgusting and degrading.

"I, on behalf of my fellow students, have wrote this because we want our voice to be heard. We are just students who want the rights that we deserve."