To: UK Secretary of Education
End and Permanently Abolish School Uniforms in the United Kingdom
Permanently cut and discontinue uniforms in all schools in the UK, never to be reinstated.
Make free dress for all students in all schools across the country an inalienable right.
Why is this important?
The abolition and eradication of such an artefact is paramount because of what it represents on a symbolic and psychological level. Contrary to the notion that it “equalises” all students and subjects, the cost comes at their individuality and their ability to think for themselves, as the actions and thoughts are performed for them by the superiors. They are also a personification of an authoritarian academic regime. Students are no longer seen as individuals and/or equals, but as subordinates. They are subjects, numbers, seen and not heard, and seldom understood. That is the symbolic and psychological influence prevalent and I urge all students who value their individuality – the qualities that make you who you are – not to succumb to this invisible bully.
Another major reason for the abolition of school uniforms is in the events of extreme weather (too hot or too cold), the students are helpless to lose or insulate body heat to remain more comfortable. Free dress in schools MUST be allowed. There are concerns that it may instigate sartorial competition – while this may be a remote possibility, it is preferable to having everybody dressed identically against their will, devoid of individuality and freedom to express themselves.
Cost is the third major reason, in addition to destroying both a symbol of oppression of the individual and a metaphor for subversion of free expression. The money spent on uniforms (which are overtly expensive in the long run) can be spent on decent clothing, not necessarily designer brands. Having lived through this regime, I have been branded as a miscreant and a heretic for my refusal to submit to traditional authoritarian teachings in this country, and I have witnessed no such behaviour on the European continent.
Students are not allowed to adapt their bodies to the appropriate climates or to help them cope with potential allergies or sensitive skin, nor are they allowed to wear garments which showcase their individual personalities - they are forced to grow up and mature beyond their years, which puts additional strain on parents, teachers and children alike in the name of "preparing for the adult world" and "settling into work" when they are far from ready for such a state of mind or experience - this is a lack of respect for them as people and willful disregard for their basic human rights.
For far too long, headteachers across the UK have acted extremely unprofessionally by suspending, punishing and even expelling pupils who do not conform to the schools' draconian uniform codes, which, by nature, subvert their right to an education and such conduct on the headteacher's part should be considered immoral, unethical and even potentially unlawful behaviour on the grounds of deliberate discrimination (pupils are punished, suspended or expelled for the slightest deviation of the code yet staff are free of caution) and abuse of power (some students are sent home for wearing clothing which is a miniscule shade of black or grey away from the "standard" colours or clothing which is uncomfortable to them due to allergies or clothing which could potentially "provoke the opposite sex" - in the latter case, headteachers who use that justification should not be in a position of trust if that is their excuse).
They appear to have no regrets in depriving pupils of their basic rights to education for the most trivial of reasons, as in this case, and it proves that they are more concerned with maintaining the status quo, futile and unnecessary as it is, than doing the right thing. Year after year, pupils are sent home for wearing the “wrong” clothes and the excuses are always the same (improving “discipline”, making everyone “equal”, instilling “pride”, etc.), and the outcome is always the same, ending with the heads being hailed as heroes, while the parents and pupils are scrutinised and demonised – the only rational and sensible option, the only way to stop this unnecessary psychological tug of war, is to phase out and outlaw uniforms completely and permanently.
If true equality is to be achieved, then mutual respect must be encouraged, not blind obedience, and pupils must be accepted for who and what they are, not being forced to be something they’re not - furthermore, it is futile to forcibly assimilate students under the same banner with uniforms, as it will not deter bullying. What the students are wearing is immaterial and irrelevant to what they learn and how they are learning - it will not improve performance (particularly if enforced on pain of sanction) and it creates a mentality of control and manipulation.
Humans are by nature competitive beings - they will still seek out new ways to triumph over their peers regardless - and schools having mandatory dress codes on pain of suspension or expulsion will only galvanise the flames for both staff and students alike. This conflict has gone on for far too long and it is time for it to be brought to an end – it does not matter whether a pupil is rich or poor, famous or unknown, upper, middle or working class – underneath it all is the same thing: a human being.
How it will be delivered
I plan to deliver the signatures in any way I can, whether it be online or in person.