Private school pupils vote for tradition and uniformity

The yellow socks were first introduced to ward off the rats when the school was in its original home.

They are not strictly necessary now the school, Christ's Hospital, has moved from the City of London to comparatively palatial surroundings in Horsham, West Sussex.

However, its present-day pupils have voted overwhelmingly in favour of keeping them and the rest of their school's Tudor-era uniform, which consists of a long, dark-blue belted coat, co-ordinated knee breeches and white neck bands.

"I wasn't entirely sure about it when I first came here," said sixth-former Phoebe Hames, who was one of the 95 per cent in favour of no change. "It is a uniform you can't adapt, though, and so everybody looks the same."

No chance, therefore, for anyone slyly to slip in some more fashionable clothing to score points off their fellow pupils. She added: "It is incredibly warm, too. You can take off your jackets during summer."

For ceremonial occasions, such as the Lord Mayor's banquet, the girls are allowed to wear a floor-length black skirt but during the school day and other outings, the school uniform must be worn.

Jack Ferrell, also aged 18, added: "I'd never heard of the uniform before I came here. You wear it seven days a week for services at the weekend and lessons. There's quite an advantage in that we're all wearing it and we all look the same. You can't have a laugh at somebody wearing it when you're wearing it yourself."

In the poll, the pupils also overwhelmingly "strongly agreed" or "agreed" that the school should preserve its history, heritage and traditions. The school was founded in 1552 when Edward VI granted its first Royal Charter. It was originally established to educate needy boys from the City of London.

It relocated to its present West Sussex country home in 1902. More than 90 per cent of its pupils receive help with their fees, with the vast majority paying less than 10 per cent of the cost of their education , and one in six paying nothing at all. It is estimated that 25 per cent of its pupils would qualify for free school meals – compared with a national average of 14 per cent.

Past pupils include Sir Barnes Wallis, who masterminded the "bouncing" bombs which destroyed the Mohne and Eder dams in the famous "Dambusters" raid in the Second World War, and the former MCC cricketer Dennis (D.R.W) Silk.

Its headmaster, John Franklin, welcomed the pupils' decision. "We were delighted to see that there is continuing support for our unique uniform and long-standing traditions," he said. "It is clear, like past generations of pupils, they regard the uniform with a sense of pride and see it as a positive element for unity and identity."

The result of the poll will be music to the ears of Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education. In his education White Paper, published last month, he called for a return to the days of school uniforms and the house system to promote more pride by pupils in their schools.

Although the White Paper specified a return to to the days of the school blazer, he is hardly likely to quibble about that in the case of Christ's Hospital.

In fact, there has been a return to school uniform policies – particularly amongst the new flagship academies in the past decade, with many schools citing the fact it gives them a sense of identity and stops children from better-off homes showing off more fashionable attire.

Of course, Christ's Hospital is not alone in having a distinctive, if dated, school uniform. Pupils at Eton College still wear wing collars and there has been no move for a pupil vote there to change it.

Fancy dress

There are other English private schools whose pupils stand out in a crowd



Eton College Boys wear a tailcoat and wing collar. The tailcoat was created as befitting 19th-century gentlemen.



Hill House A preparatory school in west London attended by Prince Charles. Pupils wear burgundy knickerbockers, yellow jumpers and cravats. "A grey uniform produces grey boys," said Beatrice Townsend, wife of the school's founder, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Townsend.



Chelsea Garden House Girls' School Pupils wear a tweed coat in a fetching shade of aquamarine with velvet beret.



Westminster School Insists pupils wear grey business suits to prepare for the world of work. They have, though, been known to rebel with untucked shirt-tails.



Marlborough College and Rugby School Both try to spare female pupils from lascivious glances by insisting girls keep their ankles covered by wearning floor-length skirts.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

DT Teacher, Full time supply role, Maidstone school

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We urgently require an experienc...

Primary supply teachers required in Stowmarket

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam