Boys can wear skirts at primary school as it introduces gender neutral uniform

Girls and boys will be able to choose a skirt or trousers under the new policy

Girls and boys will be able to choose a skirt or trousers under the new policy

A primary school is introducing a gender neutral uniform policy allowing boys and girls to wear either a skirt or trousers.

Pupils will be able to make their own choice from the beginning of the new academic year this September.

The change comes after the issue was raised by the school council, who surveyed pupils and had the new policy approved by the school’s board of management and parents.

The Irish Mirror reports how representatives from St Brigid’s National School in Greystones, Dublin, took the step to be more inclusive of children questioning their gender and to make kids feel ‘comfortable and happy’. 

Principal Máire Costello told The Irish Times: “We have children who are questioning their sexual identity. It is happening at an earlier age. We want all our children to have a happy experience in school.

“If that means girls wearing trousers or boys wearing skirts, so be it. The most important thing is that children should feel comfortable and happy over how they are dressed.”

Boys will be able to wear a pinafore or kilt at St Brigid’s National School 

Up until now, girls attending the school were required to wear a green tartan pinafore while boys were required to wear grey trousers and green jumper. Those in older classes can wear a kilt and jumper.

Under the new policy, children can choose either outfit.

Some schools are ditching skirts altogether in favour of trousers 

Ms Costello said the move had been warmly welcomed and praised the school’s student council for their role in the decision.

She said: “I’m very proud of them. They did their research and surveyed pupils … they made the case to the board who were fully behind them.”

St Brigid’s is also phasing out girls’ and boys’ toilets and replacing them with gender neutral facilities.

 

While Manchester has yet to have any schools allowing boys to wear skirts, changes have been made at some to ditch skirts altogether.

We reported last year how Philips High School in Whitefield banned skirts in favour of trousers. 

The change meant that girls starting in Year 7 last autumn were not allowed to wear the same navy knee-length skirts worn by existing pupils.

And the move was branded ‘crackers’ by one parent, who said there was nothing wrong with the existing uniform for girls.

But some are welcoming the move towards gender neutral uniforms.

Campaign group Let Clothes Be Clothes says ‘a choice of styles regardless of sex is really important’ 

Francesca Cambridge Mallen, lead campaigner for the Let Clothes Be Clothes group, a campaign to end gender stereotyping in the design and marketing of childrenswear, told the M.E.N: “School uniform must be comfortable and practical, so a choice of styles regardless of sex is really important. 

“We don’t have work places where women can’t wear trousers, why should that be acceptable in some schools? Plus for those who cry ‘a boy in a dress!!’ what is the problem? They’re cooler in warm weather and it won’t make their bits drop off.”

What do you think about schools having a gender neutral uniform? Should more schools give the option for girls to wear trousers and boys to wear skirts if they wish? Let us know in the comments or share your views on our Manchester Family Facebook page.

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