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Skirts banned by UK schools

A string of British schools are banning skirts after helplessly watching the trend of "hemline creep" when girls roll up skirts at the waist to show more of their legs.

world Updated: Sep 17, 2011 01:13 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar

A string of British schools are banning skirts after helplessly watching the trend of "hemline creep" when girls roll up skirts at the waist to show more of their legs.

Rising hemlines among girls in their mid-to-late teens have long been a headache for schools. Now, it seems, girls who are leaving homes with perfectly decent skirt lengths manage to transform their uniform into micro-miniskirts by the time they get to school.

Some are so short the headmaster of Tewksbury school in Gloucestershire said they are "almost like belts". Apparently, they have become a bit of a distraction for both boys and male teachers.

Robert Kelly, the rector of Berwickshire High School in Scotland, said short skirts could cause "inappropriate thoughts" among boys. And Hilary Winter, headmaster of Piggott School in Wargrave, Surrey, described short skirts as a "difficult distraction for members of staff".

In the town of Ipswich alone three schools have removed skirts from their approved uniform list. David Hutton, headmaster of Northgate High in the English town, said, "Unfortunately, despite contacting specific parents, sending some girls home to change, requiring others to wear a school-owned skirt for the day and repeatedly asking others to unroll their skirts at the waist, we still had some girls coming to school in inappropriate skirts."

"I have therefore introduced a trousers-only policy, which will enable my staff to focus their time and effort on providing pupils with the best education possible."

Girls at Nailsea School near Bristol are used to a uniform bans. Two years ago, they were prohibited from wearing trousers made by the clothing label Miss Sexy, which were reportedly too low on the hips and too tight. "Staff were becoming embarrassed by seeing too much of the girls instead of the uniform," headmaster David New said. "They were very low, hipster-style, very tight trousers."

Now they have been banned from wearing skirts.

Megan Throp, a 15-year-old pupil at Guiseley School in Leeds, facing a compulsory trousers-only policy, told the Yorkshire Evening Post newspaper, "Our rights and freedom of being young women have been snatched away because we have been forced into wearing school trousers."