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A Message from the Principal concerning uniform

06 May 2015

  • uniform shop

5th May, 2015

Dear Parents,

Firstly, may I apologise that we have sent out so many emails in the last week or two, but I do believe that these have been important issues we need to bring to your attention. We will continue to endeavour use our usual means of communication (mainly through the newsletter and blog) as much as possible.

 As you are aware, we try to keep our uniform under review to best meet the needs of students and parents. We are committed to always remaining a uniformed school as we believe that smartness is an essential preparation for the life of work and the future. We did undertake a full uniform review last year so the questions I would like to pose now are regarding small changes that may be helpful.

 The first and biggest regards Primary School uniform. Many parents, and teachers, have said that, whilst our youngest children look very nice on their first day at school in their blazers and ties, it is actually very hard to maintain. It causes a lot of time to be used up at the beginning and end of PE, and at every other time when they change, and the uniform begins to look not very smart very quickly, as small children and playtime do not blend very well with this type of uniform. It has therefore been suggested, and I am happy to look into this, that for the younger years (maybe Years 1 – 3 or 4) we should consider our winter uniform being more like our summer uniform i.e smart trousers, the school polo shirt and a school jumper, with the blazer still being available but optional, and no tie until students get towards the end of Primary School (Year 5/6). I’d really like to hear your views on this.

The second issue is the school polo shirt, and for this I must make a somewhat red-faced apology. When we chose to change from white to the blue colour (following parents’ requests that white was difficult to maintain in a clean fashion) we forgot to check whether the blue would match well with the girls’ skirt – and it doesn’t! There are therefore some options for us: 

1.Consider a slight change to the colours in the girls’ skirt to bring in the blue

2.Allow girls’ to wear white or blue polo shirts

3.Make the uniform white polo shirts for girls and blue polo shirts for boys

4.Go back to white polo shirts for all

5.Stick with the blue polo shirt for all and accept the mismatch in colour with the skirt

My own preference would be Option 3. Changing the skirt colour would be quite difficult to do well and, as this is an expensive item, would mean parents have spent a lot of money on the current style. We don’t really want our girls in all sorts of different shirts but boys’ parents, in particular, were finding the white shirts very hard to keep clean and presentable after a day of football and play. It seems to me that the different colour for the two genders would look smart and be practical. But once again, I’d really like to hear your views before we make a decision.

Finally, the issue of school skirts, particularly in summer. Some of our girls have said they would like to wear trousers in the cold Beijing winter. If parents agree, we are happy to consider this, so long as they are smart school trousers which we would sell in one single style – I do not want to go down the route of fashion trousers. Secondly, a number have asked for a summer skirt in a different, cotton type material, perhaps with an elasticated waist, as the current skirts are warm in summer.  And thirdly, some have suggested the options of skorts (skirts with shorts integrated inside) – particularly for older Primary/younger Secondary girls, some feel this might be better when they are sitting outside or on the floor etc.

We believe that one of the strengths of our school is the excellent smart dress of our students, and we want to keep it that way. But we also think that practical changes might actually make the uniform smarter, and I’d be delighted to hear any views from parents on this matter.

We have also listened to parents and students who feel we may have started summer uniform a little too early this year – whilst colder weather is still a risk – and we will ensure that we take this into account in future. The most likely outcome is to allow students to wear some winter uniform items (tights, long trousers etc) if they feel cold during the period of summer uniform. I also should like to stress that, whilst Secondary girls are allowed not to wear a tie during summer uniform, they may continue to do so if they wish. We will of course ask students to wear full correct uniform for formal events such as graduation, school photographs etc, where consistency is an important part of the appearance.

Please feel free to email your thoughts and suggestions direct to me – andy.puttock@britishschool.org.cn.

With very best wishes

 Andy Puttock