Schools in Tayside and Fife will not have a consistent uniform policy as headteachers will have the ability to determine whether they are necessary when pupils return to the classroom from August 11.
Pupils have often been asked to follow strict policies on uniform – typically consisting of shirts, ties and smart trousers.
However, the coronavirus pandemic has led many local authorities to relax the rules and pupils in Tayside and Fife may be asked to drop their formal attire for a more relaxed look.
Blazers not mandatory
Pupils at Monifieth High School have already been informed of loosened uniform rules as they are set to be allocated a blue hooded sweatshirt which should be worn on campus.
Headteacher Mrs M-C McInally told parents the policy had been created in an effort to support families “during a difficult period of time”.
During the blended learning phase, pupils will not have to wear their blazers with a shirt and tie – but are still expected to wear school trousers and shoes.
The measures were discussed at an online parent council meeting on June 9, where parents were also advised children would not be required to wear face masks.
However the majority of Angus secondary schools will not alter their uniform requirements.
Pupils attending both Montrose Academy and Carnoustie High School will be expected to be kitted out with blazers, shirts and school ties from the start of the new term.
Perth and Kinross Council have said they will not be enforcing a “blanket rule” on uniforms.
Instead, schools will set their own policy based on consultations with parents.
However, at Perth High School pupils have been asked not to wear uniform and staff will not have to wear their usual formal clothes.
The school have said the decision was made due to “health and safety” which would require clothes to be washed after returning home from school.
Formal school attire such as blazers, which do not fall into this category, are not permitted.
The letter to parents read: “We will not be asking pupils to wear uniform, or for staff to wear the more formal office clothes they would normally wear.
“This is because health and safety guidance is that we should ask all of us coming into school to wear clothes which can be machine washed as soon as we get home.
“We want pupils and staff to be comfortable at school so we are asking pupils to wear casual clothes which they can wear to do physical activity.
“This will mean pupils will still be able to do some form of PE when it is likely that changing room use will be limited because of physical distancing.”
Blairgowrie High School pupils have also been told to wear “comfy and washable clothes”.
Viewforth High School in Kirkcaldy and Kinghorn Primary School have told parents to expect “uniform as normal”, but many Fife schools are yet to confirm their policy.
A similar approach has been taken in Dundee, as many secondary schools are now offering parents the option to purchase blazers and ties.
Schools should ‘exercise sensitivity’
Last week, Education Secretary John Swinney told Holyrood’s Education Committee that schools should “exercise sensitivity” when deciding a uniform policy for school re-opening.
Mr Swinney, who has a son at primary school, said: “I come from the principle that I am a school uniform fan, I am a simple school uniform fan. I think it makes life an awful lot easier.
“We much prefer days in this house that are school uniform, rather than non-school uniform days, because they are much more straightforward.
But he said families are facing “many financial pressures” and with all but non-essential shops still closed, “there are also practical shopping challenges for families as well”.
“I’m a supporter of simple, affordable school uniforms. I think it makes it a lot easier for families if it is simple and affordable.
“I think schools have got to exercise a bit of sensitivity on that question.
“I don’t think it is for me to prescribe but [at] my own son’s school, we got a message from the head teacher the other day to say ‘don’t be in such a hurry to go and buy the school uniform’, which I thought was sensitive advice to families to just essentially get their priorities right.”
Tayside and Fife parents are also being encouraged to continue applying for clothing grants, despite the differing approach to uniform.