Opinions: Is school uniform a good thing?

RAY HONEYFORD, former headmaster: It's a splendid idea. Absolutely essential. Uniform gives a sense of loyalty and identity. It identifies children outside school too. People would say, 'We saw one of yours misbehaving last night,' and we could identify them. Girls tend to compete about clothes when they wear their own.

HUFFTY, presenter of The Word: I wore a school uniform (I liked wearing the tie - it was excellent - but the skirt was poncy and had no pockets) and I bunked off all the time. It was by the beach in Newcastle, I used to play in the arcades or play pool. I don't think uniforms will make any difference to truancy, no one used to ask me why I wasn't at school. If they had I would have told them I was going to the doctor's.

JON CALLARD, England rugby player and PE master, Downside School: It's a good thing, but the Government should look at greater priorities, like spending and recruitment, before they say school uniform is going to put everything right. The boys here wear blazers and pinstripes, and seem to like it. What they dislike is not being able to wear their baseball caps with it.

BEN THE BOFFIN, 13, computer games expert on The Big Breakfast: It takes away individuality from pupils. They say they do it so children appear equal, but why hide it if a child is poor anyway?

KAREN KRIZANOVICH, agony aunt, Sky magazine: Dress codes always used to drive me nuts but I think wearing a uniform can give a child a sense of self-respect and belonging. At school in the US, a uniform might have helped me feel less of an outsider. I like the idea of a classless society starting early, but unfortunately, life just ain't like that.

BOB HOLNESS, Blockbusters quizmaster: Seldom do you get children in uniform on Blockbusters, but those who do wear it, though they are somewhat embarrassed, seem to have more pride in their school.

EUAN KERR, editor of Beano: All I can say is that the Bash Street Kids have worn uniform for many years and it hasn't done their behaviour any good.

MARK HOBBINS, graphic designer: The premise behind school uniforms is that you can't tell rich children from poor, but it doesn't work. The details are still there - the shoes, the bags, the kind of trousers - that give it away. My own school uniform was pink and grey - but at least I didn't have to wear green knickers.

(Photograph omitted)

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