Our school is starting sixth form soon. We year 10 s’ were asked about our future subject preferences along with enquiries into our likes and dislikes towards various school customs and practices. One parameter of particular interest was the ‘Uniform or No Uniform policy’. This is probably one of the most frequent debate topics.

School is undoubtedly the most influential institution in a child’s life. A school’s responsibility is to produce well educated, responsible, people who are ready to face the world. So what role does a uniform play in this?

The obvious benefit is that it announces to the child and to the world at large a sense of belonging. A realisation that they are part of something bigger; allowing them to see the value of collective team effort and emphasising to them the need to abide by the ethics the institution stands for. I recall a mail I happened to read that was written to the students by the school’s principal. The mail was about an elderly person expressing gratitude to the school. The elderly woman who was in distress in a public transport was set at ease by the considerate behaviour of a student. The lady recognized the school from the uniform the child was wearing and wrote an email thanking the school. So you see, uniforms can carry a lot of meaning and dignity.

    School uniforms also help turn focus to a person’s character rather than their appearance. This encourages the students to find other productive ways to express themselves – which is vital for their formative years as tomorrow’s professionals. Uniforms make it easier to enforce rules of decency.

Students are often judged and discriminated for what they wear, which would be based on affordability, their religion or just personal preferences. The policy prevents bullying, cliques or gangs forming within the school community. It also streamlines a quick and organized morning routine for them.

That said restrictive or expensive uniforms might hamper it’s benefits.

Besides once students reach a certain age group, like the sixth form, they may become responsible and mature enough to be trusted with privilege of choosing their daily school attire.

In most schools around London, the uniform policy is very strict. The rule - Students that don’t adhere to the code will face consequences. Punishing students by removing them from class because of their inability to afford a school uniform just reinforces socioeconomic stereotypes. It denies a child the right to learn due to their economic standing in society. Isn’t this a major idea we are trying to rid from our culture?

A few students have their say in this topic as well:

“I think school uniforms are a good idea, as they prevent the formation of ‘groupings’, and kids are not bullied or judged on what they wear.”

“Having a uniform policy is a good idea, though the uniform designs are rather old-school and uncomfortable. They should be made more casual and modern to accommodate today’s youth.”

“Kids try so hard to imitate the most recent fashions, and buying most of this to avoid social demotion can become expensive. Having uniform norms reduces this easily evitable anxiety related to school life.”

So here are the facts, the decision is up to the educational institutions.