The unfortunate trend of banning skirts for schoolgirls started in Suffolk in 2004 and eight years later the county remains ahead of the pack. As of September 2011 six schools in the county have trouser-only policies, up from three at the end of the previous term. As these schools are of above average size, the overall effect is that 17% of year 7-9 schoolgirls are not allowed to wear skirts (rising to 40% in southeast Suffolk).
School re-organisation is contributing to the change. Of the schools that banned skirts in 2011, only one (Northgate) was not affected by either changes in pupil age ranges or mergers. Benjamin Britten School and the Samuel Ward Academy switched from 13-18 to 11-16 this year as part of the phased abolition of middle schools, while the Felixstowe Academy was formed from the fusion of Deben and Orwell schools and the former already had a skirt ban in place.
Information available online suggests at least three other schools considered – and rejected – imposing bans. Meanwhile female teachers carry on wearing skirts, no ties, etc. Talk about hypocrisy.
* Benjamin Britten and Samuel Ward Academy are phasing in their bans over three years. Trousers-only is now in place for year 7 to 9 pupils and will be extended across the school as those pupils progress through to year 11.