Throughout my career, I've always been on the fence when it comes to uniform. Part of me wants to recognise the young people as individuals and allow them to express their personalities through the clothes they wear. The other side of me recognises how costly it would be for parents who would come under pressure to buy the latest fashions if there were no uniform.
At the end of the day, having a school uniform does what it says on the tin: it makes the school and in particular the students, uniform. It removes potential bullying issues caused by students comparing what each other are wearing and most of all it helps create a sense of identity with the community they are in.
These past two weeks I've been kicking myself for not actively pushing high standards in uniform enough over the past few years while I've been in post. There has been a lot to do in the school and it was low on my priority list. I also wasn't ready to take on the inevitable battle. I've got to admit I was wrong. I've been overwhelmed by how supportive both parents and students have been with our drive this term to improve uniform standards. The 'battle' has never materialised!
Without a doubt, it has had a positive effect on the school. It's a fantastic experience to stand on the gate at the beginning and end of the day and see our students looking so smart. It's interesting to note also that the students appear to like the fact that everyone is looking smart. There is a definite sense of pride in being part of our school community; something we've worked hard to achieve over the past two years. That pride is rubbing off in lessons also. The start of the year has been unbelievably calm and classes are really productive.
So huge thanks to everyone for helping and supporting the school. We were the most improved school in Cardiff following this year's results and second most improved across our consortium of schools (South Wales). I'm confident we'll continue this progress over the coming years and go from strength to strength.
PS I'm off the fence now when it comes to uniform.