Clivesden School welcomes students into a new school year with one big change - no more gendered uniform. The uniform list that was until last June, segregated into “boys” and “girls” is now merely “Winter” and “Summer”. Students are now free to choose from a list which includes  read more

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why gender neutral uniform matters

For headteacher Jamie Barry, introducing a gender-neutral school uniform policy at his Bristol primary school was just basic common sense. “Why would we define our children by the clothes they wear? We still have the same uniform, we simply removed all references to gender in our uniform policy.”

Girls at Parson Street school already had the option to wear whatever the boys could wear, but Barry’s new policy enabled boys to wear skirts and dresses for the first time. The fact that not a single boy has chosen to do so in the year since the policy was introduced doesn’t matter to Barry. “For me, this was about creating a culture of acceptance. Children are not born homophobic or discriminatory, they are exposed to those influences as they grow up. At Parson Street, we believe children should grow up seeing and experiencing equality, before any stigmas are created.”

This month John Lewis announced it was removing “girls” and “boys” labels from its children’s clothing departments in order to get rid of gender stereotyping and offer more choice. It is the first retailer to do this but it is following a trend set by many schools. They say it is partly about liberating girls from flimsy shoes, constricting skirts and gender stereotyping but it is also about making all children feel they don’t have to be pigeonholed.

Cavendish Road primary in west Didsbury introduced its new policy last September. “We felt that in this day and age it was inappropriate to designate certain clothing items to one gender,” says the headteacher, Janet Marland.

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