This policy is current as at 24/04/2017 09:30am, AEST. Please refer to policy library website (https://education.nsw.gov.au/policy-library) for an updated version.
This policy requires schools to review and document school uniform or dress code requirements in consultation with their communities and to develop strategies for the wearing of school uniforms.
A school uniform consists of a limited range of clothing, including footwear and headwear. It identifies students as belonging to a particular school. Schools usually expect students to wear the uniform during school hours, while travelling to and from school, and when engaged in school activities out of school hours.
Careful selection of a school uniform can contribute to the health and safety of students when engaged in school activities. A school uniform should reflect school community standards and expectations. It should be developed in consultation with and agreed upon by the school community. It should be based on a strong student and parent voice. The whole school community has a role to play in encouraging the meeting of these standards.
Decisions about school uniforms should be consistent with work health and safety, anti-discrimination and equal opportunity legislation. Aspects of the uniform related to safety, eg. safe footwear, eye protection and hats, will need to be enforced as appropriate.
Each school's uniform policy must be the result of formal consultation with students, teachers and parents or carers, including the Parents and Citizens' Association, local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and School Council where relevant. The consultation will be conducted in a manner appropriate to each school and be based on participatory decision-making principles. The school's uniform policy and uniform requirements should be formally endorsed by the school community before implementation.
A school's uniform policy should take into account the diverse nature of the student population in the school and not disadvantage any student. Economic, personal, social and cultural factors affecting students and their families must be considered when deciding on items of uniform. Other considerations, such as body shape or religious requirements should be taken into account in making a final decision on the design and fabric of school uniforms.
The school's uniform policy and school uniform requirements should be reviewed at least every five years and amended where necessary. Groups within the school community may also seek a review when circumstances change significantly or issues arise.
Positive reinforcement and encouraging responsible behaviour are the preferred approaches to ensuring students wear the school uniform.
Everyone has a role in setting the standards for the school. Teachers and other school staff model appropriate standards for students. They should dress in a professional manner at all times.
Suspension or expulsion solely for non-compliance with uniform requirements is not to occur. Student enrolment cannot be contingent upon adherence to school uniform policy.
Students should not be disadvantaged where required uniform items are not available because of circumstances beyond their control.
Conscientious objections by parents to the wearing of school uniform should be respected.
Response to students who do not wear uniform must be appropriate. They should be clarified, agreed upon by the school community and documented. Response must be fair and consistent. They must not prevent students from continued participation in essentail curriculum activities except where exclusion is necessary for reasons of safety. In this situation, alternative educational activites must be provided.
Arrangements for the supply of uniforms with individual firms, where selected firms receive preference in the placement of orders or publicly, can only be entered into following public tendering.
Any change in school uniform has significance not only for students and their parents or carers but also for those agencies that supply school uniforms.
Any school which, after a process of consultation with students, teachers and parents or carers, proposes a change in school uniform should announce its decision early in the school year preceding the change. All parents or carers and, as far as is practicable, all retailers concerned must be notified. Some schools may need to allow up to three years for change, to enable school uniform shops and others with significant stocks of the uniform to be replaced to prepare for the change.
Schools, parents/guardians/caregivers, and the public.
The Department of Education and Communities supports the wearing of school uniforms by students and the upholding of high standards of dress by students and staff. The department recognises that NSW has a long history of school uniforms or dress codes being decided by the local school community.
Under the NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011 the department must do everything reasonably practicable to ensure that students are not exposed to risks to their health or safety while they are on departmental premises.
Under the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 it is unlawful for an education authority to discriminate on grounds of race, ethno-religion, sex, pregnancy, disability, age, homosexuality, transgender status, responsibility as a carer or marital status.
It is the responsibility of the principal to ensure that the school uniform policy is developed and reviewed collaboratively with the school community.
When a school community agrees on a school uniform, the principal oversights the shared responsibility for ensuring that students are encouraged to wear school uniforms that meet agreed community standards and adhere to legislative requirements.
Principals must provide parents or carers with the school’s uniform policy and school uniform requirements.
Principals who operate within the policy framework will be supported by the department in the implementation of this policy.
The documentation of the school’s uniform policy and the school uniform requirements, together with a brief statement about consultation undertaken, should be kept on file by the principal of each school. Completed checklists, where appropriate, may also be kept on file (refer to implementation document: School Uniforms in New South Wales Government Schools Guidelines (PDF 735.39 KB))
Leader, Health and Wellbeing.
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