Darlington's Longfield Academy debating scrapping skirts or enforcing strict rules on length

Headteacher Angela Sweeten said clarity was needed on what constitutes an appropriate length for skirts. Credit: PA

A school in Darlington is considering scrapping skirts entirely or mandating strict rules on their length for pupils.

Longfield Academy's headteacher Angela Sweeten said that if skirts are to stay they would have to be knee length and worn with more opaque black tights.

Parents are being asked to vote on whether skirts should be kept as part of school uniforms.

In a letter to parents, Ms Sweeten said: "As part of the many improvements we have made to the school since I joined at Easter, I have also been speaking to pupils, parents / carers and staff about school uniform.

"The current wording in the uniform policy is: Plain black trousers (or skirt - plain or pleated, of appropriate length).

"Through these informal conversations it has become apparent that clarity is needed about what constitutes ‘appropriate length’."

If skirts remain part of the uniform, they will need to be black, knee-length and plain or pleated. The school also wants to see 60 denier back tights worn with them at all times.

Ms Sweeten thanked parents who had been in touch with responses about the plans and set out a formal consultation form they can fill in to air their views in uniform policy.

"We would like to consider how we support the equality and diversity agenda and would like you to reflect on whether we include skirts as part of the uniform," she said.

A letter and an online questionnaire has gone out to parents and carers at the 884 pupil school, on Longfield Road in the town.

The questionnaire has seven questions. It asks parents whether they agree or disagree with the statement 'All pupils will wear school trousers and the wearing of skirts will no longer be included in the school's Uniform Policy.'

It then asks whether they agree or disagree with the proposal to introduce tights if skirts are to continue.

A decision is expected to be made on school uniform policy in early July.

The school is part of the Swift Academies group trust which also includes secondary school Hurworth School and The Rydal Academy, a primary school in Darlington.

The school uniform issue regularly has parents talking, especially if changes are made.

Earlier this month one Middlesbrough mum criticised changes over branded jumpers amid the cost of living crisis.

Under the new rules at Linthorpe Community Primary, pupils must wear school-branded jumpers and PE tops which are available from a single supplier costing from £8.50 to £10.50.

A secondary school in Devon has also announced it is banning skirts, prompting criticism from some parents.

Currently skirts are permitted at Tiverton High School in Devon but the school's new rules are being enforced to create a 'more gender-neutral uniform policy'.

It also follows what it said was a persistent problem of skirts being worn shorter than rules permit.

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