Top private school wants skirts for boys

A leading private school is discussing plans to introduce a gender-neutral uniform policy.

Highgate School in North London has proposed allowing students to ‘mix-and-match’ their uniforms.

The proposal comes amid constant pressure from activists encouraging children to question their gender identity.


At present, girls may wear trousers or skirts, but boys are not permitted to wear skirts, and cannot wear earrings until they are 16.

However, Highgate does allow girls to be known by boys’ names and vice versa if they choose, and one boy has been allowed to wear a dress.

Pressure is coming from student-led equality groups which want to scrap “old fashioned” ideas of male and female, introduce gender-neutral toilets, and ban phrases such as “ladylike” and “man up”.

‘Uniform One’

The school is consulting with both parents and students as to whether the uniform policy should be changed.

Headmaster Adam Pettitt said: “We are asking them, should it be called uniform number one and uniform number two?”

He claimed that if allowing boys to wear skirts makes them “feel happier and more secure in who they are, it must be a good thing”.

‘Promoting wrong ideas’

Alan Smithers, Professor of Education at Buckingham University, was critical of Highgate’s move.

He said: “Schools need to help young people become comfortable with their identities, not reinforce their anxieties with measures such as gender-neutral uniforms.”

Former pupils have also written to Highgate to oppose the changes, stating that the school is ‘promoting the wrong ideas’.

Tim Sandler, now at university, said: “I think there are much bigger issues to be tackled and focussed on, however, like bullying and mental health.”

Primary schools

But Pettitt said that while children questioning their gender were predominantly sixth-formers, he thought it would soon filter down into primary schools.

Pettitt has been outspoken on transsexual issues before.

He recently wrote that Highgate was exploring questions such as “how can young people be empowered to live their gender as they would wish without fear but in freedom and with excitement?”


Highgate is hosting The Developing Teenager conference for teachers at dozens of schools. The conference will hear from the Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) at Tavistock.

The GIC has provided puberty-suppressing hormone blockers to children as young as ten.

Related Resources