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Sussex school BANS girls from wearing skirts as part of ‘gender neutral’ uniform

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Parents have slammed a secondary school after they banned skirts and adopted a gender-neutral uniform.

Priory School has removed skirts as an option for year seven pupils and all new students will now wear trousers instead.

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Only new first-year students will be forced to adhere to the new uniform, which consists of shirt, tie, school jumper and the contentious grey trousers.

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But angry mums and dads have blasted Piers Morgan’s former school in Lewes, East Sussex, for the “restrictive” move, which they say has “become ridiculous”.

Kerry Gold-Smith said: “This gets my back right up. This headmaster makes no sense at all, he’s doing this mainly for the small amount of transgender kids he has at the school.

“What about everyone else? He is restricting them from being who they want to be for the very small minority.

“Obviously he is unable to control the skirts being too short on some girls and so he has found an easy way out.

“If you were any good as a head, you’d have them all under control and doing and wearing the correct length skirts.”

Commenter TreeHurler added: “Sometimes these meddling fools open a Pandora’s box of hypocrisy and issues that then need to be answered all over again.

“If it was a practical issue, then it could be explained, but when the head comes out with ‘gender neutral’ and ‘transgender pupils’ then it becomes ridiculous.

“So what about cross-dressing boys who want to wear a skirt? This has now created a sexist and gender-biased situation where there wasn’t one previously.

“The head is a fool for citing the wrong reasons publicly.”

Former pupils also lambasted the “PC-mad” decision.

A former pupil said: “I think ultimately this is a bad decision made by my former school, because it is about restriction – it’s PC-mad.

“It’s great the school want to do their best to ensure the comfortability of any transgender students they may have there, but to restrict other students of something isn’t the answer and will only breed more division and frustration.

“Particularly as this only a Year 7 initiative.

“Starting secondary school is daunting enough and often the older children are the ones you look up to for guidance, how are students supposed to feel when they can’t dress like their older counterparts?

“If this had happened when I was there, I could imagine someone identifying as gender neutral being a victim of bullying and being picked on.

“Kids can be harsh and anything they don’t understand, they judge and pick on.

“More education and understanding of this issue is needed in schools, rather than just one off decisions likely to only highlight these differences.”

The school have defended the decision, claiming it addresses “concerns which have been raised” and is designed to make trans pupils feel more comfortable.

Some parents have also agreed with the move, saying it helps to support transitioning students ‘having the terrible emotional battle’ of coming out.

Headteacher Tony Smith said: “Transgender students are only a small aspect of why we have made this decision.

“There are five or six trans students at the school and we have a number of other students transitioning, mainly from year nine upwards.

“I think in many ways, it’s unfair citing that as the key reason – it is not, it’s one of many reasons.

“I do feel it is important and it’s about having a clear policy.

“It came from a range of issues, but transgender students did say they felt there needed to be a uniform which was acceptable.

“We also had a number of comments about students wearing indecent uniform outside of school from both the local community and parents.

“The new uniform is easy for parents to purchase and it’s not complex or expensive – it’s simple, and that’s what the word uniform means, it’s the same for everybody.

“This will then allow staff to concentrate on teaching and not uniform issues.

“It’s a step in the right direction – I’m not naive enough to think there will be no issues, but I made the decision around this school which is what is important to us.”

Mermaids UK, a charity which supports transgender children and their parents, have backed the move, which they say sends ‘a clear message of acceptance’.

CEO Susie Green said: “Mermaids welcomes any initiatives taken by schools to recognise that children and young people are disclosing in increasing numbers degrees of gender variance.

“Adding gender neutral uniforms is one of many simple ways that schools can help any pupils struggling with their gender in any way, plus sends a clear message of acceptance and inclusivity.

“The recent report from Stonewall highlights the very real challenges transgender pupils face in school, including bullying and death threats.

“Schools need to take a clear line to accept and embrace all diversity, no matter how small the numbers affected.”

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