School Uniform: Yes or No?

A topic of everlasting debates over the years – whether to stick to having compulsory school uniforms or give a chance for students to let loose and decide on their own style and personal expression. 

By taking a deeper view, regular school uniforms have served (and sometimes continue to serve) many good causes. They can still break down class barriers between students, as when students wear uniforms, visible class markers are eliminated. Another argument that’s often raised in favor of uniforms is that they may increase student focus, as the youngsters are not distracted by clothing to notice, comment on or respond to. Their mental energy is spent more on learning, and that adds to a sense of disciplined learning. Besides, being dressed in uniforms can increase the sense of community in a school and unite students of all ages. 

On the other hand, school uniforms could be more expensive to buy than regular clothes for children, if speaking of a budget matter. Another argument made against uniforms is that they limit students’ self-expression. And that concerns not only the clothing, but also the outdated rules on hair. Recently, as reported by The Times, more and more schools have come to realise that these rules are becoming obsolete, noting that  “too many young people feel that they need to look a certain way and conform”, which is in conflict with the modern day notion of individualism and self-expression. Now big afros, long hair, cornrows and man buns all are acceptable in most school settings. And while still having to dress smartly, students would no longer have to wear a blazer and a tie.

Some schools in the UK remain conservative about preserving school uniforms, some are relaxing the rules, and some have never actually had school uniforms implemented in the first place (Cherwell College for instance!). However, this does not mean that students can wear whatever. It just promotes a responsible, adult-like approach when selecting an appropriate attire for school days and prepares students for a university life (where there is no set uniform), and for a career ahead (where depending on the industry, professionals select what is and what is not appropriate for an occasion). 

Hence, we can argue that the rules about school uniforms need to become more liberal in order to encourage students to make appropriate decisions about their attire and allow for individual expression, reasonable within a framework of educational settling or a particular occasion.