Just one in ten think boys should only wear trousers and girls should only wear skirts
In July this year, school uniforms were in the news after a study of uniform policies across the nation revealed that 40 UK secondary schools have banned pupils from wearing skirts. Some schools said the ban was related to complaints over the “decency” of short skirts, while others made it clear that the intent was to be more sensitive towards the identities of transgender children.
The idea of gender-neutral uniform policy is not new. In 2015-2016 around 80 state schools, including 40 primaries, instated policies allowing pupils to decide for themselves what they wanted to wear, with the options labelled as either ‘skirt uniforms’ or ‘trouser uniforms’ instead of ‘boys uniforms’ and ‘girls uniforms’.
With the new school year upon us, YouGov asked both adults and children what school uniform policy they favour.
Let boys and girls wear whatever they want, four in ten British adults say
The most popular option was for both boys and girls to be allowed to wear either trousers or skirts, which four in ten (40%) adults support. A further three in ten (31%) believe that girls should be allowed to wear either skirts or trousers but boys should only be allowed to wear trousers.
Just one in eleven (9%) support a “traditional” school uniform policy of boys in trousers and girls in skirts, and only 7% believe that boys and girls should only be allowed to wear trousers (and no one should wear skirts).
Those who voted Labour in 2017 (51%), women (46%), and those aged 18 to 24 (46%) are significantly more likely than the country as a whole to believe boys and girls should be allowed to wear either trousers or skirts. By comparison, Conservative voters (28%), men (32%) and those aged 65+ (29%) are notably less likely than average to support everyone being allowed to wear whatever they want.
The kids agree
A YouGov Children’s Omnibus survey of pupils aged six to fifteen reveals that when it comes to school uniform policy, children are broadly in agreement with adults.
There are slight differences between boys and girls when it comes to support for boys and girls being allowed to wear either trousers or skirts, with girls are more likely to support the policy (47% to 37%).
In contrast, girls are slightly less likely to think boys should have to wear trousers and girls should have to wear skirts. Just one in fifteen (7%) girls support this policy, compared to one in eight (12%) boys.