No school uniform day

It’s supposed to be a treat, but no school uniform day seems like a huge ordeal for secondary school students.

Books and stationary on a school desk


Schools seem to be operating under the mistaken idea that no school uniform day is a treat. Indeed such a treat that often you have to pay for the privilege. Perhaps it’s teachers’ revenge. In our house, the day seems to loom like a huge storm cloud over the school calendar when you get to secondary school. Not one of my kids has a good word to say about no school uniform day.

Daughter three has a no school uniform day on Friday and has been campaigning to get the day off. “Other people do it ALL THE TIME,” she claimed when I gave an outright no and expressed faint disappointment that she had not instead campaigned for a day off to protest about climate change. Apparently no school uniform day is an exercise in being judged. Last time I advised her to go in something very neutral – a melt-into-the-background type of outfit. Black top and trousers. “They called me basic,” said daughter three. Basic is apparently not good. “They said I was an emo.” Also not good. So what were ‘they’ wearing, I asked? Something outrageously cool? No, it turns out they were all in drainpipe jeans and designer tops. It was like a no school uniform uniform.

I told her that in a few years’ time – and possibly even now – her rebellion against designer tops would be seen as the epitome of style. All the truly cool people are creative and individual. “In a few years’ time is not going to help me now,” daughter three responded and I had to admit she had a point. She has been having problems assimilating into the new school so it is absolutely understandable that she does not want to do anything at all that makes her stand out or invites insults. But what can you do when school goes and plonks a no school uniform day in every term?

So in the absence of a solution, daughter three is not speaking to me and she can do silent and moody better than anyone. So far she has lasted 48 hours, though I did see the flicker of a smile at around 8pm last night. In the meantime both her older sisters are suffering from broken hearts.

So I was relying on only son for a bit of good news. He bounced out of school, saying he had had quite a good day, although he has “no friends”. It then emerged, en route to the car, that it is World Book Day coming up. Only son hates dressing up. The theme this year is cats, rats and hats. “I will NOT be dressing up as any kind of cat or rat and I don’t like hats,” he announced most definitely. I said he could just rerun last year’s Harry Potter outfit and say he was going as Scabbers. “NO WAY,” he replied.

What about being Horrid Henry [whose band is called the Killer Boy Rats] which is essentially just wearing home clothes and maybe spiking up his hair? Not a chance. I thought I’d throw in for good measure that Thursday is Valentine’s Day and he has to wear hearts or something red. “What???? I hate Valentine’s Day. NOOOOOOOOOOO,” he moaned in true Horrid Henry style. After extended conversations, we have settled on red Super Mario boxers. Subtle, but still in keeping with the spirit of the day.

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