School attire not so uniform anymore

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Waitaki Girls’ High School will break from tradition next year.

The Oamaru secondary school will allow its pupils to wear trousers as part of the school uniform for the first time.

Principal Liz Koni said the decision to add a trouser option to the uniform was made unanimously by the school’s uniform committee, which was formed at the beginning of the year.

It was part of the evolution of the school, Mrs Koni said.

“Adding trousers as a uniform option [for] students makes good sense and is really just a sign of the times,” she said.

“We are living in the 21st century. The majority of students wear pants outside of school and some students may prefer the comfort, practicality and warmth that school trousers provide.”

Dress trousers would be available from the school’s on-site uniform shop, just as kilts and other accessories were.

St Kevin’s was also re-examining its uniform options.

Principal Paul Olsen said at present, the school board was exploring different uniform options to respond to the needs of the community.

Over the years, pupils had expressed a “reluctancy” to wear the school’s heavy kilt during summer, and suggested a tailored pant option, Mr Olsen said.

The St Kevin’s College student council had proposed a uniform change on three separate occasions in recent years. The latest proposal was put forward through the student council, by the school’s Queer-Straight Alliance group (QSA).

Mr Olsen said the QSA was one voice within the larger school community that wanted a change.

The change would give female pupils the option to wear trousers as an alternative to the kilt, or the school might adopt a gender neutral uniform.

The uniform was last changed in the early 1980s when the school transitioned from a single sex school to a co-educational one.

The board would formally survey the pupils and the wider school community in the coming month.

Although the future of its uniform was still being considered, the school’s toilets would undergo some definite changes.

It was decided that the toilets, which were due for a complete “re-fit”, would embrace a “modern design” and be made unisex.

“It absolutely makes sense to have unisex toilets rather than the traditional set up,” Mr Olsen said.

It was cleaner, more hygienic and private, he said.

“It’s inclusive of anyone . . . all students deserve privacy and facilities that are appropriate.”

Mr Olsen hoped construction would start during the summer holidays.