The audible collective sigh has drifted away upon summer’s hot winds as parents return to the normality of having their children back at school.
Certainly the bank account is lighter because each new school year brings a plethora of new items to be purchased for the ensuing twelve months curriculum, with little or no opportunity to reuse in subsequent years.
However in 2016 some Canberra parents’ wallets will face less cost in the future with the decision of some government schools to revert to wanting their students to be outfitted with that non-government give-away: a school uniform.
Why this sensible attire was abandoned is a mystery, unless it was to allow each child to express his or her individuality. A false and expensive hope with the students doggedly conforming in their non-conformity, often changing the fashion each term. Sneakers to be white, then with a blue streak, then of a slip-on variety, tops and bottoms were similarly popularised only to be discarded as out-of-fashion a few months later.
There is nothing elitist about a school uniform – least of all the way most children wear them – and designs nowadays allow for colourful alternatives to the drab practical styles of the past which often tried unsuccessfully to create young ladies and gentlemen well before they were ready to enter the adult world. The outfit doesn’t even need to be expensive, say a blue shirt perhaps with the school’s logo and black shorts/trousers/skirt.
The biggest advantage, at least to parents who are footing the bill, is the uniform is a constant, unchanging year to year unless a new principal wants to make their mark – a matter for the school’s P&C to decide, methinks.
Thus while the child might change and indeed will over the years the uniform does not. Clothing pools can be established where last year’s by now too small top, washed or dry-cleaned, can be sold off or even a new size purchased, perhaps with a small charge, the profits going to the school.
Uniforms not only save parent’s money they add to the esprit de corps of the school and perhaps help identify those misbehaving on the homeward-bound bus.
So congratulations to those schools and their communities who have seen the sensible and practical way to relieve parents of some expense and, dare I say it, introduce a little discipline into their schoolchildren’s lives.