Girls get to wear the trousers at Bath's new community academy
A Bath school has unleashed its secret weapon to smooth the transition to becoming a successful co-ed academy – trousers.
Bath Community Academy opened in September following the closure of the under-subscribed boys' school Culverhay, with female pupils not given the option of wearing skirts.
Instead, the Rush Hill school's uniform is made up of jackets, jumpers, ties and trousers for all pupils – and the new head says parents and pupils are happy with it.
"What I want all my staff to do is spend time delivering engaging lessons, not to argue about whether the ties are too small or the skirts are too short or too tight – you have far fewer debates about trousers," said head teacher Adam Williams.
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"This was a boys-only school and I was very mindful of that when was doing the uniform consultation back in April or May. I spoke to the parents of present boys and parents of girls coming to the school to make the decision of what was the best option for girls, and they agreed that this was the most appropriate uniform.
"We have made the decision that girls can wear trousers and it protects the modesty of the girls, you can wear trousers and no one is going to be offended by that."
Mr Williams said that female pupils had welcomed the trouser-only rule especially with the approach of winter.
He added that when the girls have become more established in the school, they would have the chance to debate whether to add skirts to the uniform.
"Very few of them wanted to wear skirts anyway but next year we will have pupils who can contribute to the debate," he said.
"It is about creating a level playing field and there has been 100 per cent support.
"Some of the parents involved in the consultation had boys in the school and girls who were about to join.
"It just made complete sense to us. At my previous school I have had boys claiming inequality because they weren't allowed to wear skirts."
Mr Williams said that he had learned from experience to keep uniform as simple as possible as pupils would often try and shorten skirts and ties, detracting from valuable teaching time.
Ralph Allen and Oldfield schools both allow their female students to choose from skirts or trousers.