Thursday, 12 September 2013

Uniform Clampdown calls into question Management Priorities

We must once again call into question the priorities of our beloved Senior Management as they unveiled another clampdown on uniform on the first day that all of the school was back.

The news came alongside other announcements in an assembly, such as the old mantra renewed, that every second is a second for learning, despite holding the assembly in what should have been lesson time. The reason that we question their priorities is, frankly, because rather than working on improving the school and allowing teachers to do their jobs (which, by the way, is to teach), they parade around the school barking orders to 'tuck shirts in' or to 'do ties up', which usually interrupts a class (especially when they bust in on one of their so-called 'learning walks', wherein the only thing they learn is that students don't care for the uniform) or makes students late to lessons. Where's your mantra now?

And, if you are unlucky enough to not have the correct uniform, either because the rules on it are about as vague as 'a pinch of salt' or 'a length of rope' and open to interpretation, or a part of your uniform is in the wash because you don't want to smell, then they threaten you with sending you home. This is hardly a threat to so-called troublemakers, as they probably couldn't care less whether they are in school or not, but to those who do care it is simply wasting their learning time. There is an argument that it is the students' fault for not organising the correct uniform, but since when did uniform take president over education?

We've also heard various SLT use the line 'This is a uniform school. You signed up to this uniform in Year 7' on various unfortunates. Now, this statement is true for the current year 7 and 8, but for anyone in Year 9 above, that is simply not the case. When those students signed up for the school, the uniform was white polo shirts and jumpers, with optional shirt and tie. They liked it that way. And then, halfway through their secondary education, it was changed, and guess what: they didn't like it. So what did they do? They didn't wear it. Why? Because it was not the uniform that they signed up to. The SLT have, in effect, lied to peoples' faces with that statement above.

We all know that the School Management have delusions of grandeur, but if they spent less time making us look like a private school with ill-fitting blazers and tucked-in shirts and realised that they work in a comprehensive, then the teachers of our great establishment might actually be able to do some teaching.

We know that wearing a uniform 'prepares' us for working life, but that working life is specific to only a percentage of jobs. Yes, those that will go on to work in offices, school, hospitals, etc will have to be suited and booted appropriately, but what about those that aspire to be other things? I don't think I've ever come across a laborer of any sort wearing a blazer, at least not on the job. Artists, musicians, activists, directors, editors, photographers, farmers, builders, gardeners, the self-employed, even astronauts don't have to wear a uniform for the most part (unless you count the spacesuit, which is a kind of life/death situation). The school tells us constantly that we can have whatever career we wish, yet the uniform implies that we can have whatever career we wish, as long as it is based in an office.

When it comes to uniform the Management are effectively making every teacher periodically smack their head against a brick wall. Please, just stop bothering. The attitudes of the students are more than clear. Let the teachers teach, and let the quality of education uphold the school and motivate the students.

DISCLAIMER: This Hampstead Trash article has been written to critique the actions of the governing bodies of the school. This is so student readers can hear both sides of the argument, and formulate their own opinions on matters pertaining to their education.


  1. they should go back to the old style of polo shirt and trosers might not look the best but as you said saves time and effort

  2. big ups you guys

  3. Good job on your blog. Read about your battle on The Register, and I think a school has no place to censor and control anyone. Even if you had "anarchist" tendencies, what business is it of a school headmaster? If anything, your school has fascist tendencies - they should look at themselves before pointing the finger.

    It's good to see that there's a younger generation out there with balls and brains. You give an old man hope.

  4. I'm a university lecturer with children in Camden's schools. I came across your blog following the Camden New Journal article. I've only read this last post on uniforms and not only do I fully agree, but I also find it well written and well argued. And would like to add, most office workers in London don't have any dress code whatsoever.