Brighton College is set to break a 170 year-old tradition by allowing transgender pupils to decide what uniform to wear based on their chosen gender.
Headmaster Richard Cairns told students last week that uniform codes would be replaced by a ‘trouser uniform’ or a ‘skirt uniform’ for all pupils up to the age of 16.
“If some boys and girls are happier identifying with a different gender from that in which they were born, then my job is to make sure that we accommodate that,” Mr Cairns said.
“I hate the idea of anyone being in my school who is miserable because they’re being asked to dress in a way they are uncomfortable with.
“Brighton College has instead decided to abolish the notion of boys’ and girl’ schools altogether.”
The idea came following a discussion between Mr Cairns and the school’s Gender Society – with the change set to be implemented at the start of this term.
Before a child is able to change their uniform, parents will be required to write to the school first, giving their consent for the child to wear either a full tweed blazer, tie and trousers, or a skirt, bolero jacket and blouse.
Mr Cairns says that the school – famous for appointing the first ever openly gay head boy – is reacting to changes in society’s approach to gender dysphoria – when a person may feel their emotional identity does not match their biological sex.
The move has proved popular with current pupils – with some girls already taking to wearing trousers around campus and at least one male expressing an interest in wearing a skirt.
One pupil, Fred Dimbleby, 17 – son of BBC broadcaster David Dimbleby – said: “I’m completely in favour of it.
“I think it’s brilliant that we, as an institution, are leading this new approach and that we are leading this respect towards everyone no matter what they define themselves as.
“I think that it’ll be foreign for people to see someone who defines themselves as a male wearing a skirt, and I think that will be something big, but I don’t think it’ll cause any outrage or backlash because that person will be massively support by the pupil body.”
Last year, Mr Cairns openly criticized the government for failing to include gay rights in its push to promote ‘British values’ in schools.