Chapter 1: Do I need to wear school uniform?

While school uniform may not seem important, it can play a huge part in the decision-making process when it comes to choosing a school.

Here are some pros and cons of a strict school dress-code to help you weigh out your options:

School Uniform? Own clothes?
• Students won’t feel under pressure to always keep up with the latest trends, which can also help with bullying or children being singled out. • Many children like to express their individuality with their own clothes. This makes the school environment less formal, which is beneficial for many kids.
• A dress code encourages discipline. Students learn to abide by rules which prepare them for later life. • Uniform can be expensive. However, please see the section on Buying Uniform where we advise the most efficient ways to shop.
• Many schools opt for school uniform as a safety measure. Intruders can be easily identified in a school where everyone is wearing the same clothes. • Many schools enforce strict consequences for children who break uniform rules, or teachers must waste their time checking if students are complying. For this reason, some schools believe no dress-code is the way forward.
• Uniforms can be reused. This is particularly handy if you send multiple children to the same school. When you no longer need the uniforms, you can also donate them to second-hand sales for future students instead of throwing them away. • School uniforms can make students easy targets when going to and from school. Wearing their own clothes makes them less vulnerable, especially in places like London.
A few things to keep in mind…

• Even if a school insists on school uniform for particular years, it usually tends to allow its older students to wear their own clothes. The majority of private schools will have uniform for Reception to Year 10 or 11, but these rules will not apply to Sixth Form students.

• Some schools opt for a formal dress code. Students will not necessarily all wear the same thing, but they will have to dress smart. This may mean white shirts with black bottoms, as well as sensible shoes.

• Just because a school has no uniform, it doesn’t mean pupils can wear whatever they want. All schools will have a clear set of guidelines available to parents and will send home anyone who doesn’t meet the correct standards.