Posted: 16 September, 2021

Dress Codes and Other Debates

Blog, General, In the Press, News, Pastoral, Senior School, Sixth Form

Anyone familiar with Putney will know that student voice is a key pillar of the school, and it’s not just talk. We champion critical thinking and value both individuality and independence of mind. We don’t shy away from difficult topics, in fact we actively debate them, whether that’s in our new debating forum (opening this winter), Model United Nations or our active Student Council.

One recent subject for discussion has been the perennial debate around school uniform. Whether it be skirt lengths, hair colour or even something as simple as tucking a shirt in, these debates have been raging between students and school leaders since time immemorial. Putney is no exception and as the main bone of contention still tends to revolve around the shortness of skirts, parents will I’m sure be relieved to hear that we still have high expectations in the way our students dress for school.

Many top 100 companies now adopt casual dress codes and I know that when they leave us, few of our students will find themselves in a workplace where they are obliged to wear a suit. That said, just like any place of work, we encourage them to be mindful of their environment, the multi-cultural society in which we exist, and to be respectful not only of their teachers but their peers and our community as a whole. It is in that spirit of respect, that we consulted the students on the dress code, and I am happy that we have with their help brought the language and the spirit of the guidance more up-to-date.

It is important that we have such discussions. After all, we want to empower students to learn, to question and to make their own decisions – and to involve them in the policies that help us to work together as a school. Challenging boundaries helps students to develop their voice and opinions in the safe and structured environment of school. I relish these conversations and enjoy the cut and thrust of the debate.

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