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£36,000-a-year private school will now let everyone wear skirts

Jess Glass April 9, 2018

One of England’s most prestigious private schools has made the decision to allow all pupils to wear a skirt if they want, regardless of gender.

In an interview with The Times, Uppingham School headteacher Richard Maloney said that pupils can wear a skirt if they choose to.

The educator reportedly prefers to address the students of the East Midlands school as ‘pupils’ rather than gendering them all as either boys or girls.

school-uniforms-gender
(Getty)

“I would hope that any pupil could come to me and say, ‘This is who we are, this is how we wish to express ourselves. We want to wear these clothes,’ and we would probably allow that,” Mr Maloney said.

Uppingham now joins the ranks of several other prominent independent schools to provide some form of gender neutral uniform. Many of these schools have allowed students to wear skirts regardless of gender.

Others have made the controversial decision to ban skirts.

Former pupil Dr Christian Jessen, best known for his role on Embarrassing Bodies, said that given the chance, he would have likely worn a skirt to school to be provocative.

“I probably would have worn a skirt to shock. I never toed the line, I was always different,” said the television personality.

Dr Jessen then showed his support for entirely gender neutral uniforms, calling gendered colour schemes and clothes “problematic.”

“For too long we have stereotyped people — notions such as pink for girls and blue for boys are problematic… I think it would help for schools to have a gender-neutral uniform,” he said.

Uppingham has a gendered uniform like many schools, offering skirts for girls and trousers for boys, with often no provision for non-binary students.

However, Uppingham’s uniform is additionally gendered by offering cerise jumpers for the girls, and black ones for the boys.

Uppingham is a highly prestigious private school, with annual fees including board costing around £36,000.

Related: 15-year-old tells politicians to support gender neutral school uniforms

The school has a variety of celebrity alumni, including Rowan Atkinson and Hugh Jackman, who taught at the school prior to becoming an actor.

Stephen Fry is also a former pupil of the school, and was expelled from the school for a ‘variety of misdemeanours’ according to Tatler.

Last year, after his own former school made its uniform gender neutral, Piers Morgan hit out at the idea, calling it ‘absurd.

The Priory School in the south of England made the move to be more inclusive of its transgender pupils, and will allow students of all genders to wear shorts or skirts in summer.

WATFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Journalist Piers Morgan plays a shot on the sixth hole during the Hero Pro-Am at The Grove on October 12, 2016 in Watford, England. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
(Getty)

Morgan, who has a history of grumpily lashing out at gender-neutral and non-binary concepts and people, tweeted: “It’s not even ‘neutral.’ They’re just making the girls dress like boys. Utterly absurd.”

More: Education, private school, School uniforms, Uppingham school

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