A top private school in London is preparing to introduce gender neutral uniform rules that would allow boys to wear skirts.
Highgate School, a co-educational establishment whose fees are about £20,000 per year (around $26,000), has drawn up plans to change its uniform policy for those students questioning their gender identity, according to The Sunday Times.
Headteacher Adam Pettitt said that girls’ and boys’ uniforms would be replaced with a mix-and-match policy, allowing boys to wear a grey pleated skirt.
At the moment, the school uniform policy dictates that girls can wear either skirt or trousers with their blazer and tie, but boys can only wear trousers.
The school has previously taken various steps to ensure children questioning their gender identity feel comfortable. It allows students to request staff to address them by the opposite gender name and already welcomes a boy student who wears a dress.
“This generation is really questioning [if we are] being binary in the way we look at things,” Pettitt said.
He added that students mostly start questioning their gender in later years, but he believes “that will change over time” and parents will in future see their children asking similar questions from an earlier age.
He confessed that some former student are against the new changes, saying “They write in and say if you left children to their own devices they would grow up differently and you are promoting the wrong ideas.”
A former student at the school, Tim Sandler, 20, told the MailOnline that he believes the change of policy is a “good thing”, but wondered why the issue is being prioritized.
“I guess I think on the surface it’s stupid. As someone who went to Highgate I’ve never known of any boy wanting to wear a skirt or anyone I’ve ever known for that matter.
“But if the choice is there for anyone that does then I guess it’s a good thing. I think there are much bigger issues to be tackled and focused on, however, like bullying and mental health.”
Another former, Benjy Fortna, 19, who’s now a student at Oxford University, said he’s proud of his former school for changing the uniform policy.
“I was really proud to hear my school has decided to introduce gender-neutral clothing – it’s a brave and inspiring step to protect the welfare and mental health of all students, no matter what gender they identify with.
“This is not an ideological decision, it is a sensible recognition of the evidence which shows that gender is a spectrum, and that a failure to accept this can have disastrous consequences for young people.”