Sunshine Coast schools to ditch gender-specific uniforms
HALF of Sunshine Coast public schools will ditch their gender-specific uniforms in lieu of unisex options as new dress codes are enforced in all state schools next year.
Already, 50 per cent of schools in the North Coast region, which includes the Sunshine Coast, offer shorts and pants options for girls, but the remainder still require females wear skits with some uniforms.
A Department of Education spokesman said on March 10 the Queensland Government committed to review the dress code procedure to provide shorts and pants uniform options for girls.
Way ahead of the game is the Caloundra State High School, where principal Julie Pozzoli said all students could choose a unisex dress code and girls had the option to wear pants for years.
"Not that we have any of our boys wearing skirts, but they could if they wanted to," Ms Pozzoli said.
Ms Pozzoli said the change, which would see 100 per cent of schools offer indiscriminatory clothing, was a "long time coming".
Speaking from the perspective of a mother, she supported children being given a choice to wear clothing more aligned with what they are comfortable with.
"Also, it's a practical solution to have girls wearing shorts, if nothing else, for modesty's sake and all the rest of it," Ms Pozzoli said.
The department spokesman said this was in response to community feedback, and the changes do not solely focus on gender.
"A principal may consider modifications to the dress code to reflect the diverse needs of students, promote inclusivity and support student health and wellbeing," the spokesman said.
"For example, the dress code may permit head coverings such as the hijab or turban in school colours, or provide options for students with allergies to specific fabrics."
State schools have been provided with a guideline and are principals required to consult with students, staff, parents and the P&C Association to develop the new dress codes.
"Parents and students are encouraged to engage in the consultation process," the department spokesman said.
"Any parents or students who have concerns about the dress code at their child's school should discuss their concerns with the principal."
Dress codes are available on schools' websites, which reveal while some sports uniforms offer pants for females, they are still required to wear a skirt with their formal uniforms to be worn at least once a week and when representing the school.