Hitchin headteacher responds after petition signed by hundreds calls for greater freedom in students’ dress code

Geraint Edwards

Geraint Edwards - Credit: Archant

The head of a Hitchin school has responded to a petition signed by hundreds which calls for greater freedom in dress code by telling pupils that rules are in place for a reason.

The Priory School headteacher Geraint Edwards made the comments in response to a petition signed and commented on by more than 400 people on the change.org website, asking for more leniency in rules for ear piercing, make-up and clothing and greater respect for pupils’ individuality.

The petition calls for ‘individual freedom of expression’ regarding hair colour, style and make-up, regardless of gender.

It says: “We appeal for a school that encourages us to express ourselves how we choose to and to be more accepting of our different preferences in style. We ask for a school that focuses more on our education than our own personal appearance.”

Responding, Mr Edwards said: “Priory students are regularly praised in the wider community for their excellent appearance and smart uniform, and this is due to the support from our parent body and the high expectations we set all our students.

“We have clear rules regarding school uniform, which includes hair, make-up and jewellery.

“Parents and students sign a home school agreement which sets out our expectations. As individuals we all have differing views on what is or is not appropriate.

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“However, there is also a need to conform to meet the expectations of the institution we are a part of – whether that be a school or a place of work.

“At The Priory School we have a very proactive student leadership team where the concerns of the student body are discussed at length with my leadership team and myself.

“I would suggest that those students who have taken time to respond to this petition actually use the channels available in school to raise their concerns with their elected student representative.”

The school has a strict dress code outlined on its website. When it was last inspected by Ofsted in 2013, it was reported that the ‘overwhelming majority’ of pupils were happy there.

To view the petition search for Priory School on change.org or click here.