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Call to ditch school uniforms for sportswear

Suzan Delibasic and Susie O’Brien, June 17, 2021 7:00PM Herald Sun

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Kingswood College has switched to a permanent sports uniform. Charlotte, 11, left and Issey, 13, right, jump for joy in their new outfits while Lucy, 13, centre, wears the old uniform. Picture: Jake Nowakowski media_cameraKingswood College has switched to a permanent sports uniform. Charlotte, 11, left and Issey, 13, right, jump for joy in their new outfits while Lucy, 13, centre, wears the old uniform. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

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Kids, parents, teachers and health experts are calling for traditional school uniforms to be replaced with sports uniforms five days a week.

University of Newcastle public health PhD* candidate Matthew Mclaughlin and a team of researchers, found in a recent survey four in five parents and six in 10 teachers support a change in uniform policy allowing students to wear sports uniforms every day.

Mr Mclaughlin said research also showed 62 per cent of primary school students and 72 per cent of secondary school students would prefer to wear a sports uniform five days a week.

“We think sports uniforms should be worn five days a week and that would be a saving of $167 for primary students and $363 for secondary students in Victoria,” Mr Mclaughlin said.

“Sports uniforms are cheaper than traditional uniforms. Most sports uniforms consist of a tracksuit, polo shirt with school logo, sport shorts and trainers*.”

He said older students strongly agreed they would be more active wearing sports uniforms due to traditional uniforms being too “uncomfortable”.

“The sports uniforms make it easier for students to engage in more physical activity.

“An example of this is girls being able to play on monkey bars without having to worry about exposing their underwear while going upside down, they can already see from a young age that this sets them apart from the boys.”

School uniforms - push for kids to wear spots uniforms media_cameraKingswood College has switched to a permanent sports uniform. Charlotte (left) and Issey (right) wear the new uniform. Lucy (centre) wears the old uniform. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

Geoff Roberts-Thomson, acting principal of Kingswood College in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, said his school’s students had been wearing an “active wear uniform” since the start of the year.

“It’s incredibly popular with students. It’s everyday comfort, easy to wash and dry and gender diverse,” he said.

Mr Roberts-Thomson said it had increased the students’ activity levels at lunch and recess.

Independent Schools Victoria chief executive Michelle Green said independent schools set their own uniform policies and had adopted a wide range of approaches.

“Some don’t prescribe* a uniform at all,” Ms Green said.

“In recent years there has been a trend* among many schools towards more flexible and in some cases more informal policies on uniforms.

“This has included gender neutral* options and uniforms that don’t restrict physical activity, particularly for girls.”

GLOSSARY

  • PhD: research degree at university
  • trainers: sports shoes
  • prescribed: make it a rule to do or wear something
  • trend: a fashion or growing popularity
  • neutral: neither one nor the other

EXTRA READING

Uncomfortable uniforms could force girls out of sport

Girls want school uniform rule change

Shorts and pants for Qld girls at school

Five in six Aussie teens not moving enough

QUICK QUIZ

  1. What is the main point of this story?
  2. Who was surveyed?
  3. Which university is mentioned?
  4. Which school are the students in the photos from?
  5. What do the students at the school think of the change?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Design the Perfect Uniform
What would be the perfect uniform for your school? Create a design. Write a description of the different features of your uniform and why they make it perfect.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Design and Technologies

2. Extension
‘Teachers should wear uniforms.’ Do you agree with this statement? Write a piece of persuasive writing giving your point of view on this.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

VCOP ACTIVITY
Exercise the Body and the Mind
Exercise is not only important for the body, but it’s a lot of fun as well. Let’s bring more exercise into classroom learning by creating a VCOP PE game.

You can add a VCOP challenge to pretty much any game, and it’s a great way to encourage the teacher to let the class play more games.

Here is an example to get you started, then you create one of your own.

VCOP Dodgeball
The normal rules of dodgeball apply. Two teams throw soft balls at each other and if you get hit, you have to sit out. The team who knocks out all the players on the other team, wins.

VCOP Challenge: When you get eliminated, you collect a mini whiteboard and a basic clause from the sidelines. You have to up-level the sentence (make it better) by adding VCOP. When you show the teacher your completed sentence, you can return to the game.

Play for a set amount of time and the team with the most players on the court, wins.

Support: Use the ‘Up-Level It’ card set and players have to complete 1 card from the set instead of completing all VCOP challenges.

What can you come up with?

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