Hundreds sign petition opposing gender neutral uniform at Lewes school

A petition has been set up in a bid to stop Priory School in Lewes from forcing all students to wear trousers.

Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 5:14 pm
Students staging a protest outside Priory School in Lewes earlier this month

The school in Mountfield Road introduced the new gender neutral uniform policy this September.

All students must now wear a school polo shirt, school jumper and trousers.

The school said the new uniform had been designed ‘specifically in response to the many issues and suggestions raised by parents, students and school staff’.

However, furious students, who staged a protest outside the school earlier this month, have argued that they have a right to choose whether they wish to wear a skirt or trousers.

The decision has also caused outrage in the community with parents taking to social media to express their anger.

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield has also slammed the decision, describing it as ‘an absurd waste of school and police resources’.

Former pupil Piers Morgan has also weighed into the row, threatening to turn up outside the school gates wearing a skirt.

After The Good Morning Britain presenter and former Daily Mirror editor said boys could perhaps take part in a peaceful protest in skirts to show solidarity, his co-host Susannah Reid said she would love to see Mr Morgan in a skirt.

Now, a petition has been set up in a bid for the decision being overturned.

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It reads: “Forcing everyone to wear trousers is limiting choice, preventing people from having the ability to choose whether to wear a skirt or trousers and therefore preventing diversity.

“It is also very bad for the environment because the old uniforms have to be thrown away, wasting old cotton uniform. Fast fashion the second biggest contributor to climate change.

“It’s also expensive, some people can’t afford a whole new uniform for nine months.”

More than 400 people have signed the petition so far. In response, a spokesman for the school said: “Priory School uniform is designed to be a practical uniform which encourages students to be ready to focus on their school work and activities.

“Our uniform also helps us to dilute the status placed on expensive clothes or labels and challenge the belief that we are defined by what we wear.

“Instead, we encourage individual beliefs, ideas, passions and well-being and an ethos of camaraderie that is reflected in this shared experience.

“We believe that a uniform worn without modification is the best way to ensure equality.

“We do not want children feeling vulnerable and stressed by the pressure they feel to wear or own the latest trend or status symbol.

“Priory school is not unusual in having a trousers as the uniform item for all students.

“There are at least 40 other schools which have a similar uniform requirement. Our core purpose remains the quality of teaching and learning and we aim to achieve this by maximising the time spent on planning, delivering and evaluating the quality of provision.”