School uniform doesn’t look the same everywhere and not all children wear uniforms to school. Before working with the children to think about what they want from a school uniform we wanted them to begin imagining that uniform could be different from their experience of it. We asked the children to look at photos of school children from around the world who were wearing a variety of uniforms or no uniforms at all. This opened up their perspectives on uniforms in general and helped them to compare other uniforms and no uniforms to their own experiences.
“People feel they don’t have a choice in school uniform”MCP, Aberdeen
“Uniform is good because you don’t have to wear your own clothes and you are all the same”MCP, P4, Clackmannanshire
We wanted the children to think about how uniform impacts their ability to play so we went out to the playground played an active game of “port / starboard”. After running about and holding shapes, we spoke about what uniform had helped them move easily or had got in their way during the game.
“It makes me feel hot as the school trousers are hard to run in and as I’m a sporty guy, they [trousers] don’t really have stretch”MCP, P6, Edinburgh
“It’s harder for girls to change into the P.E. kit like [with] their hair, skirt and tights …Boys in trousers might be scared if they do cartwheels, handstands or climb a fence”MCP, Aberdeen
“I really don’t like the logo because it scratches me, so I need to wear a bra”MCP, P4, Clackmannanshire
The children then created a series of adverts either promoting the wearing of uniform, or clothing of their own choice. This required them to consider the pros and cons of uniform, including cost issues.
“[it’s] not affordable to get school shoes all the time, you might only get school shoes then wear them everywhere not just school”MCP, Aberdeen
“You have to buy school uniform every year because it gets smaller”[as a child grows]MCP, P4, Clackmannanshire
Finally, after investigating lots of opinions on school uniform, each child created their own “ideal” uniform from craft materials to put on show on their own fashion runway in the classroom. This encouraged them to think what children need a school uniform to be and to imagine how uniform could be different.
“Make the uniform comfortable, cheap, not itchy and especially make it cooler”MCP, P6, Edinburgh
“I would wear blue but everyone else would wear their favourite colour to make them feel good”MCP, P4, Clackmannanshire
“It also comes in all the house colours, and it’s really cheap! A t-shirt, a pair of shorts and a pair of trousers for only £7!”MCP, P6, Edinburgh