What not to bare: Hot weather examines teachers' dress code

Summer the and the living is easy - but not for teachers. They, it seems, have spent the past two weeks debating appropriate wear during a heatwave on an internet chatroom.

Summer the and the living is easy - but not for teachers. They, it seems, have spent the past two weeks debating appropriate wear during a heatwave on an internet chatroom.

Should women teachers bare their midriffs in front of the pupils? And should men be allowed to don shorts and sandals? One contributor asked: "Are ladies allowed hipster trousers that allow people to see some skin?" Another admits to discomfort "when a female teacher bends over, trousers ride down and there's a lovely display of bare skin and thong".

Perhaps the suggestion of one primary school teacher that dress code should vary according to the age of the pupil is the right approach. She said: "When I taught early primary, I felt quite relaxed in my floaty gingham dress of cropped trousers. Now, teaching upper primary, I wouldn't dream of anything less than a twinset."

Men, too, are agonising over what to wear. One told the website, run by the Times Educational Supplement: "Every day I go to work in a shirt, tie and trousers. Feel hot all day long, which has a negative effect on my teaching. What do guys wear to keep themselves cool? Are three-quarter length trousers passable?"

According to another contributor, schools in New Zealand allow men to come into school in smart longish shorts and polo shirts with sandals. "It's not a problem," he added.

Officially, there are no rules governing dress code for teachers - although ministers do favour uniform for pupils. The initial response of the Department for Education and Skills to the debate was: "I don't think there's anything sensible we could say." Later, in an official response, a spokeswoman said: "It's up to the individual school. We don't issue guidelines."

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, was relaxed about the question of dress. "If New Zealand allows sandals, why shouldn't we?" he said.

"I think we should take a relaxed approach to dress - although I can concede that if they're too relaxed you could get a pupil revolt. They may say 'Why are you allowed to wear that if we've still got to come to school in uniform?'."

Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education, a parents' pressure group in favour of a traditional approach to education, was more strict in his attitude. "I think schools should be treated as a business environment and that teachers should dress in a reasonably respectable fashion," he said.

"I do think it is up to the head and the individuals concerned but they should realise that it is not the summer holidays."

One teacher contributing to the website reckoned that a return to the more traditional garb of the gown might be the way forward. "If we all wore academic gowns, no one would know what we were wearing underneath," he said. "Think of the laundry that would save."

Happily, nature may have provided its own solution to the dilemma. Temperatures plummeted yesterday and lashings of rain brought an end to the heatwave.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 Teacher Required in Grays

£21000 - £40000 per annum + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 tea...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee