A 12-year-old boy is wearing a SKIRT to school today in protest at a uniform ban on shorts.
Chris Whitehead plans to wear the short black girl’s skirt for his classes at Impington Village College, Cambs, because he believes its “no shorts” policy discriminates against boys in the summer.
The Year 8 student, who has borrowed the skirt from his younger sister, said wearing long trousers in the heat is affecting his ability to study in class.
Chris, who is a member of the school’s student executive, also plans to march with other pupils in a bid to overturn the school’s policy on shorts.
“I feel it is unfair that girls are allowed to wear skirts and have bare legs in the summer but we have to wear long trousers,” said Chris, from Histon, Cambs.
“I think the uniform policy discriminates against boys.
“I believe if we are more comfortable we will work much better so if the policy is changed it will improve our learning.
“I started wearing the skirt to school yesterday and if nothing happens I’ll continue to wear it.”
The school banned summer shorts two years ago after a consultation on the school’s uniform policy between staff, parents and pupils. But Chris is hoping this can now be reviewed in light of the recent unusually hot, sunny weather and will speak at the school assembly next week dressed in his skirt. His dad Brian Whitehead, 48, and mum Elizabeth Hill, said they were very proud of their son, who they described as a “budding politician.”
“I’m very proud as he has thought of this campaign completely off his own back,” said Brian.
“He is very interested in representing his friends at the school and speaking out on their behalf.
“They are fed up and want a more open uniform policy.
“There is nothing in the school rules against boys wearing skirts so he decided to do that to make a point.
“I think he is incredibly brave and I did warn him that he may be bullied but he said he didn’t care.”
Chris, who borrowed his skirt from little sister Joanna, 11, who will be starting at the school in September, said he had been well supported by the boys at the school.
“Most of them think its funny,” he added.
Headteacher Robert Campbell said there was no ban on boys wearing skirts to school because of anti-discrimination rules.
“I understand some boys are planning to wear skirts to highlight that they can’t wear tailored short trousers to school.
“Our uniform policy had a significant consultation and ours is typical of most schools in Cambridgeshire and the consensus was we were going to go for that.
“The issue creeps up in the summer months.
“The boys can wear a skirt to school as it doesn’t say they can’t in the uniform policy and we would be discriminating against them if we did not allow it.”
Boys at Parkside Community College in Cambridge are allowed to wear shorts but they have been banned at Swavesey Village College, Bottisham Village College, Sawston Community College and St Neots Community College. Impington Village College, which teaches pupils from 11 to 18, is just north of Cambridge and is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.
On its website its uniform policy states: “ A high standard of personal appearance is expected of all students and staff. As part of the rights and responsibilities students have in our College, we expect that they should look smart by wearing the correct College uniform at all times.”
With regard to trousers and skirts it simply states: “Plain black tailored trousers or knee length skirts without slits.
“Skirts should be free moving not tight against the legs, and trousers should be neither tight nor baggy.
“Jeans (or jean-like material), corduroys, cargos with pockets, drainpipes, leggings or capri pants are not allowed.”