Portsmouth High School headmistress changes dress code after pupils raise concerns over views on how women dress
A HEADTEACHER has changed her school’s non-uniform dress policy after a Year 8 pupil raised concerns about specific dress codes being placed on young women and girls and the perception this can create.
The Portsmouth High School pupil raised the issue after reading a testimonial online about women being criticised for their dress.
Headmistress Jane Prescott said the rules had first been introduced to ‘keep it smart’, but that was then interpreted as ‘keeping it decent’ with some girls suggesting the rules for non-uniform days were ‘quite old-fashioned’.
Mrs Prescott said: ‘We had a rule where you can wear a pair of jeans but they mustn’t have rips in them. All designer jeans have rips in them now so why do we have that? I mean I think it’s a hangover from the past so we’ve got rid of that.
‘There were other ones about wearing sleeveless tops that have too thin straps. Again it’s irrelevant now so we’ve got rid of that and we just have a statement that says that this is a work environment and they must dress appropriately.’
The change is policy comes as concerns have been raised nationally about how girls can be perceived by male pupils after the Everyone’s Invited website received thousands of anonymous posts from girls and young women citing their experiences of misogyny, harassment and abuse within schools across the country.
Mrs Prescott, who is president of the Girls’ School Association (GSA), added: ‘I’ve adjusted it in light of what they have said because I think it’s quite important that we listen to their experiences and how they think we should be reacting.
‘I think the girls that are in our schools are quite aware of what’s going on in the world. They like to have a voice and they like to effect change and if they can help anyone through their actions then they will do, if they can promote change.’