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UK school plans to introduce gender-neutral uniforms

Press Trust of India  |  London 

A leading school is formulating plans to bring in gender-neutral uniform options that would allow boys to wear skirts.

The move by Highgate School in north comes as many school principals in warn they are struggling to deal with growing numbers of children questioning their identity as boys or girls, 'The Sunday Times' reports.

"This generation is really questioning [if we are] being binary in the way we look at things," Adam Pettitt, headmaster at Highgate, told the newspaper.

At present, Highgate schoolgirls can wear grey trousers, dark blue jackets and ties but boys cannot choose the grey pleated skirts that girls are allowed and have to wait until they are 16 to wear earrings.

The pupils are being consulted on a mix-and-match dress code that would not be called a girls' or boys' uniform.

"We are asking them, should it be called uniform number one and uniform number two," said Pettitt.

He added that if some boys wore skirts, then "if [as a result] they feel happier and more secure in who they are, it must be a good thing."

Parents will also be consulted before a decision is taken.

However, some former pupils of the school are opposed to the changes.

"They write in and say if you left children to their own devices they would grow up differently and you are promoting the wrong ideas," Pettitt said.

Next month, his school will hold a conference titled 'The Developing Teenager' for dozens of schools.

One topic for discussion is how teachers should handle the growing pressure from children to scrap "old fashioned" ideas of male and female.

Figures show a surge in the number of young people - mainly girls - in the seeking help to change gender.

More than 2,000 under-18 were referred to the Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in north last year, against around 100 when it opened eight years ago.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, May 14 2017. 16:28 IST