You remember your school uniform? Whether you loved it or not - here’s a short history!
The tradition of wearing school uniforms is certainly one that Australia has adopted. Much of our schools are modelled by British schools in the 19th century. Our uniforms are typically characterised by blazers sporting the school emblem, ironed shorts or trousers for boys, dresses and knee-high dresses for girls, matched with polished, laced, black leather shoes. There are even uniforms for each season - summer, winter and for occasions such as sports.
Uniforms are compulsory and widely accepted across all Australian private, public and state schools. Very rarely do you come across a school that allows daily “Mufti”
So, why the uniform?
Well, there are many views, studies and arguments around the practice of wearing school uniforms. One argument is that by dressing in uniform, you can no longer tell if a child comes from a privileged or underprivileged home. This influences students to view their peers as equals and to treat each other with respect.
Secondly, a uniform encourages students to embody their school’s values and to embody them with pride. Another view is that uniforms prepare students for many careers that require a uniform!
On the other hand, uniforms have no bearing on extreme behavioural problems that can occur at many schools, such as bullying, violence and drug abuse. Not even in student attendance, academic performance or respect towards teachers. In these cases, more needs to be done to hold students accountable for their actions and to ensure the safety of schools.
In any case, uniforms are widely embraced by Australian schools and look like they are here to stay! Many high school students prefer to know what they’re going to wear that day, making it part of their daily routine. Further, a school can give a child a form of consistency and a place of belonging. And perhaps wearing a uniform reinforces that.