Pupils defy girls' uniform ruling at Bedford school with three days of protests

Row centres around skorts - a pair of shorts with an overlapping fabric panel made to resemble a skirt

Friday, 30th April 2021, 4:52 pm

Hundred of pupils at Sharnbrook Academy have refused to go to lessons for three days in protest at a change to the girls' uniform policy.

Angry parents contacted Bedford Today about the protests which began on Wednesday (April 28) - and vowed their children would continue until there is a U-turn by the school.

The row centres around the girl's wearing skorts - a pair of shorts with an overlapping fabric panel made to resemble a skirt.

The Sharnbrook Academy skort, available from Price & Buckland's website

According to a number of parents and pupils - who didn't want to be named - the skorts which were being worn for PE, are now being worn all day as there is a no changing rule due to Covid.

But some male members of the school have allegedly taken umbrage and the skorts have been deemed "distracting", with one parent saying the principal's new rule is that girls must now wear knee length skorts (combined shorts/PE skirt) for safeguarding.

They said that students are also asking "why make girls change their behaviour instead of properly educating boys to respect females?"

One pupil even also blasted the school for victim blaming.

Sharnbrook Academy

Another pupil, aged 13, wrote: "I didn't even get a warning, and straight away I've got a phone call home FOR WEARING A SKORT.

"I will wear what I want, as I should do, and men should be able to control their eyes."

Clare Raku, principal at Sharnbrook Academy, said: “The school’s sports changing facilities remain closed due to Covid restrictions. This means all our students are unable to change into or out of sportswear on days when they have sports lessons.

“We therefore are asking all students to put trousers or long skirts over their sportswear when they come to school to ensure a more appropriate dress code during the rest of the school day.

“This decision has led some students to voice their concerns and a peaceful protest took place at the school today (Friday). The majority of students were in classrooms studying as usual throughout the protest.

“We do not condone protests taking place at the school however senior staff took the opportunity to talk with students to understand their concerns. This conversation was not just about the item of uniform but the wider discussion of matters relating to the sexualisation and harassment of women.

“We encourage open discussion on vitally important matters such as this and will continue to listen and act upon those concerns, both through the curriculum and our wider work.”