Why do we have to wear school uniform?
That is a question that I have been asked A LOT over the years. Why do we have to wear a blazer? Why do we have to wear a tie? Why is school uniform so boring? Why can’t we wear our own clothes?
In spite of the moaning, however, they wear it and I have to say that they all start off each day looking like smart, clean, civilised human beings. (That’s not always how they end up at the end of the day, but that is another matter.)
I was chatting to someone on Twitter the other day about non-school uniform days and it did get me thinking that generally non-school uniform days can be quite stressful. Whether they are simply going to school in their own clothes or dressing up as their favourite book character or from a certain period in history, it can lead to stress out mornings and or expense. And I always feel thankful on those mornings, that for all of the other school days at least, there is no last minute sewing, drawing spots onto things, spraying dye onto hair or any of the other crazy things that I end up doing before the school run.
And don’t get me started on the day my son had to go in as a Saxon warrior and put most of his costume on in the car and got so tangled up in the seat belt that he literally rolled out of the car onto the school driveway.
We probably do take school uniform for granted. But it really is a godsend on so many levels both for you as a parent and for them (even though they might not always agree).
How does it benefit us as parents?
Can you imagine the daily battle of choosing an outfit if there was no uniform waiting for them? I know that with at least two of my children, they probably would take three times as long to get out of the house each morning. It would be a disaster. Plus there would be more washing. I do try and get a couple of days wear out of some items of uniform where possible. I am pretty sure that without uniform, they would wear a whole new outfit every day. Maybe even two?
It may seem like an expense when you have to stock up or completely restock if they are changing schools at the beginning of each school year. But I bet, if you added up the cost of school uniforms over the years, you would spend far more if they were having to wear their own clothes daily. Particularly when you are owner of brand-conscious teenager.
How does it benefit the kids?
I have often heard kids moaning about uniform talking about how it makes everyone look the same and that they can’t express themselves. For me, the fact that they are all wearing the same is a huge positive for kids of all ages. The very fact that everyone has to wear the same means that no-one stands out. Whether they are rich or poor, whatever their beliefs, whatever their interests, they all have to wear the same and that can be a real positive. Most kids still find other ways of expressing themselves and I think having uniform reduces stress for them as they don’t have to worry about what everyone else thinks.
Uniforms are less distracting than normal clothes. Ask any teacher whether non-uniform days affect kids’ behaviour and I am certain that most would say yes. Okay, there is of course the novelty factor when it is the odd day. But, I have seen it myself, on days where kids are in non-school uniform, they are louder, more distracted and it does impact their work levels in class. With school uniform, that is one less distraction for kids and hopefully that means that they can get more work done.
It also improves safety in and out of school. By wearing a uniform, you are immediately recognisable out of school and in school it is easy to see anyone who shouldn’t be there.
Wearing the school badge, tie or colours creates a community and pride within a school. It makes all of the students feel part of something.
Studies have also shown that wearing a uniform has a positive effect on student’s behaviour. It helps to teach them discipline and presentation skills which of course will be useful as they become adults where many jobs require uniforms and dress codes too.
So, the next time I have to contend with a non-uniform day and I am colouring in spots all over an outfit or making a cardboard sword and shield and 6am in the morning, I will say a silent but heartfelt thanks to whoever it was who invented school uniform as my life would be far more stressful without it.
What do you think about school uniform?