Schools get tough over short skirts

Schools around the country are attempting to tackle the issue of girls wearing skirts that are inappropriately short amidst concerns about the increasing sexualisation of children.

Whitecross High School in Hereford banned short skirts after concerns were raised by parents.

Kinross High in Perthshire has written to parents warning that girls spend so long adjusting their short skirts it detracts their attention from learning.


And at a Harrogate school the uniform policy was altered for younger girls after warnings that some were “unaware” of the signals they were giving out.

The news follows comments by Robert Kelly, rector at Berwickshire High School, who said flouting uniform rules by wearing short skirts and half-buttoned blouses would encourage inappropriate thoughts among boys.

He has been backed by pupils and the head of a Scottish school leaders’ union, but faces an investigation from the Borders council following complaints of sexism.


At Whitecross High School head teacher Denise Strutt introduced a rule that skirts must rise no higher than the end of the tips of fingers when the arms are placed down.

She said: “Skirts were getting shorter and shorter we were getting concerns expressed by members of the public, parents and some staff.”

Pupils who flout the rules face being suspended.


Kinross High in Perthshire sent a letter to some parents warning that: “The length of your daughter’s skirt is such that she spends a great deal of time pulling it down. It detracts her attention from the learning process.”

St Aidan’s Church of England High School in Harrogate has said: “Very young children, and even more disturbingly, special needs children, are clearly wholly unaware of the signals they are giving out” by wearing short skirts.

In a letter to parents the head teacher at the school, Dennis Richards, said: “Parents who come in have been astonished to see the difference between the length their daughter may wear her skirt as she leaves home and what has happened by the time she is walking the corridors of the school.”

St Albans Catholic High School in Suffolk also had issues with girls wearing short skirts, which “wasn’t nice for male or female teachers to have to deal with”, according to Alison Turner, a senior member of staff.


Speaking to The Observer, one teacher commented: “Girls hitching up their skirts is not new, but it is getting worse, and the skirts are getting so high that male teachers are constantly saying they are embarrassed by the sight of female underwear in the corridors and especially on the stairs.”

Last week a columnist at The Times warned that society needs to stop pressurising young girls to be sexually available in an increasingly “pornified culture”.

Janice Turner said: “It is clear now that several generations of teenagers have grown up absorbing the script of pornography” and: “It is time to offer an alternative”.

She made her comments in light of media reports that two middle-class girls had become call girls, selling their bodies to a prominent footballer.


Earlier this month Bel Mooney also hit out at Britain’s sexualised society, warning about the ‘pornification’ of teenage boys whose attitude to sex comes from viewing pornography on the internet.

Writing in the Daily Mail, the commentator attacked popular culture that promotes female promiscuity as ’empowerment’ and perpetuates the ‘happy hooker’ myth.

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