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Daily News Roundup - 'Schools exist to prepare young people for the world, not just for the next set of exams'

Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education bought to you by Education Advisers...  

At least 120 schools adopt gender-neutral uniforms, charity says

At least 120 schools now have a gender-neutral school uniform policy, and primary schools are adopting the stance faster than secondary schools, a charity that develops LGBT training in schools has said.

A gender-neutral approach could involve allowing both boys and girls to wear either skirts or trousers, or may be based around a unisex uniform for all.

Dr Elly Barnes, founder of the charity Educate & Celebrate, said 120 schools have signed up to its best-practice programme and hundreds more may have put gender-neutral policies in place.

“In our experience, primary schools are adopting [the programme] faster than secondary schools,” she said.

“There doesn’t seem to be any type of school that’s more likely to take it up than any other, and no particular part of the country where there’s less or more take-up.”

The independent Highgate school hit the headlines at the weekend for consulting parents on whether to introduce gender-neutral uniforms, allowing boys and girls to choose between skirts and trousers, along with other measures such as unisex toilets and addressing all students as “pupils” rather than boys or girls.

But hundreds of other schools have been quietly implementing similar policies with little fuss.


See also: Boys could wear skirts at top private school under plan for 'gender neutral' uniform

'Schools exist to prepare young people for the world, not just for the next set of exams'

We should encourage pupils to question as well as conform – following the rules and avoiding risks don't always ease career progression, writes Dr Kevin Stannard is the director of innovation and learning at the Girls' Day School Trust.

When students engage with the authority structures of school, rather than with each other, the results can be equally unintended and no less consequential.

Student strategies for survival and success may not travel well beyond the school gates. Schools exist to prepare young people for the world, not just for the next set of exams. That means giving students space to question as well as conform. We certainly need to engage those who feel instinctively alienated from school; but we mustn’t lose sight of those who seem to fit in all too well.


See also: Which is more important: high grades or high values?