Share via Email This article is over 11 months old Pupils at Isca academy say boys from every year group have been taking part in the uniform protest.
A few had gone the extra mile and shaved their legs. When the Isca academy in Devon opened on Thursday morning, an estimated 30 boys arrived for lessons, heads held high, in fetching tartan-patterned skirts.
The hottest June days since had led to a bare-legged revolution at the secondary school in Exeter. As the temperature soared past 30C earlier this week, the teenage boys had asked their teachers if they could swap their long trousers for shorts.
At least schools adopt gender-neutral uniforms, charity says Read more When they protested that the girls were allowed bare legs, the school — no doubt joking — said the boys were free to wear skirts too if they chose. So on Wednesday, a handful braved the giggles and did so. The scale of the rebellion increased on Thurday, when at least 30 boys opted for the attire.
A third, tall boy said he was told his short skirt exposed too much hairy leg. Some of the boys visited a shop on their way to Isca — the name the Romans gave to Exeter — to pick up razors to make sure they did not fall foul of any beauty police. Ironically, the temperature had dropped in Exeter to a more manageable 20C, but some boys said they had enjoyed the freedom afforded by the skirts and that they might continue.
The school said it was prepared to think again in the long term. The headteacher, Aimee Mitchell, said: However, with hotter weather becoming more normal, I would be happy to consider a change for the future. The revolution was picked up by media organisations across the globe, and Devon county council was forced to help the school out with inquiries.
None of the boys have been penalised — no one was put in isolation or detention for wearing a skirt. Claire Lambeth, 43, said her son Ryan, 15, had come home earlier in the week complaining about the heat. I spoke to a teacher to ask about shorts and she said it was school policy [that they could not be worn]. I did say this was exceptional weather, but they were having none of it.
He wore it the next day — as did five other boys. The school is being silly really — this is exceptional weather. I was very proud of Ryan. I think it was a great idea. The headteacher told them: However, children tend to take you literally, and because she told them it was OK, there was nothing she could do as long as they were school skirts.
The boys see the female teachers in sandals and nice cool skirts and tops while they are wearing long trousers and shoes and the older boys have to wear blazers. The Guardian has heard of at least one more school in Wiltshire where one boy turned up in a skirt, although it did not go down quite so well with his friends. And schoolboys were not the only ones making controversial dress choices because of the heat.
Michael Wood, who works as a porter at Watford general hospital, claimed he was facing disciplinary action from his employers Medirest for rolling his trousers up to try to cool down. A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the case, but said: Matthew Easter, managing director of the schoolwear supplier Trutex, said they had become less popular for reasons of economy.
Summer uniforms are only worn for a matter of weeks. The Exeter-based Met Office — situated up the road from the school — predicts pleasant, but not searing, temperatures over the coming week.