Norton Hill has agreed to introduce a gender neutral uniform, replacing their current school uniform policy, which can be found in its guidelines, with clear rules for boys and girls. The change in policy comes after a pupil at the school launched a successful campaign, which saw over 200 signatures in support of a gender neutral uniform.
The petition was launched by student, Fin White. Speaking to local press, Fin said: “I’m a 15 year old gay student who has struggled to follow the uniform policy at my school. On occasion, this has caused me some anxiety and confusion on how I should present myself.”
He adds that support from friends and family have really boosted his confidence and that he feels that students who are Transgender or Non binary often feel excluded because of the strict uniform policy. He said: “Thanks to the continuous support from those close to me, I now I have this confidence and because of this, I aspire to help those who will experience the same. I strongly believe that inclusion should be a vital part of education, every student attending school should feel accepted and comfortable. Therefore, I feel a change in the uniform policy would support this to ensure every aspect of our school encourages diversity.
“Having a uniform policy which is non gender specific will allow each and every student to feel accepted. I fully support a uniformed school as it ensures most students know how to look presentable in a working environment, however, I don’t see the need to separate the policy due to gender.
“Although I identify as my assigned gender at birth, I still struggle with how I should present myself, for instance, if I was planning on attending school wearing make up, I would not know the policy as it is not specified on the boy’s uniform page. Furthermore, items such as skirts and heeled shoes are only mentioned on the girls’ page, implying that these items of clothing are acceptable for female students only. Unfortunately, this could cause LGBTQA+ students to feel a sense of unintended separation and suppression, which can lead to further issues. I’m hopeful that the petition online will bring further awareness to this issue and create a positive change that benefits all students.”
The success of the petition has seen the school agree to revisit the uniform policy, allowing any student to wear any item of uniform that they wish, regardless of their gender.
Headteacher, Gordon Green, said: “I’m immensely proud of Fin for having the courage to effect change. We’ve already changed a number of school guidelines to be gender neutral, but had not updated the uniform guidelines. The governors do have a final say, but I can’t see it being a problem, as it’s a logical thing to do. It means that boys can wear skirts if they wish and vice versa. I hope Fin comes back for sixth form and can see this policy change happen in person.”