Trans rights campaigner, Lily Madigan, is ‘disappointed’ that Kent schools are still not updating uniform codes to become gender neutral when they ‘clearly’ effect students, mentally and academically.
The King’s School (Canterbury), Valley Park School (Maidstone) and St Simon Stock Catholic School (Maidstone), do not explicitly state (on their websites) that girls are allowed to wear trousers as part of their school uniform.
Lily Madigan, 19, Labour’s first transgender Women’s Officer, has said that:
I see no reason why schools like St Simon Stock shouldn’t adopt this model [gender neutral uniform] and personally I’m quite disappointed they still haven’t updated uniform codes since I brought legal action against them for transphobic policy”.
The King’s School in Canterbury is one of the oldest schools in the world, having been founded in 597 AD. But is the public school’s policies as archaic as it’s history?
The independent establishment’s ‘School Rules‘ policy, states that for “full Canterbury dress” girls required to wear “a school black jacket with a knee-length school striped skirt”, which was first introduced by previous Headmaster, Anthony Phillips.
This particular school rule is enforced “until all time-tabled lessons have finished for the day”.
As mentioned in The Guardian, “The Equality Act (2010) defines direct discrimination as treatment that is ‘less favourable’ on the grounds of sex”.
Lily added: The Equality Act (2010) was a crucial part of the last Labour government that aimed to tackle problems like sexism and transphobia in our schools. Not following it is clearly detrimental to the mental health and educational achievements of students”.
The Guardian reported that state boarding school, Gordon’s School in Surrey, “still prevents girls wearing trousers as a part of their school uniform”.
Zoë Taylor, a former pupil of Gordon’s School (between 2009-2013) says how girls were treated less favourably than boys at Gordon’s School:
We had set times of the year when we could wear socks, and when we could wear tights. Before the October half term we were still made to wear socks, which was annoying because it could still be freezing at that time of year. In the winter time I would have loved to wear trousers, it would completely avoid the issue of constantly buying tights”.
The schools mentioned have yet to comment on this issue.