Stories + Views
DfE can produce no academic evidence to support theory that school uniforms improve behaviour
The Dfe response to Freedom of Information Request revealed no empirical evidence of the link between school uniforms and behaviour. The response gave two examples:
1 Two academies who believed that the “wearing of neat clean uniform is an integral part of the schools’ behaviour and discipline policies”
2 The previous government’s response to Sir Alan Steer’s report (April 2009) which noted “The great majority of secondary schools find that a smart uniform helps to underpin the schools’ authority and their pupils’ sense of belonging.”
These examples are opinion, not fact. The DfE has presented no academic evidence that school uniforms are essential for promoting good standards of behaviour. There is, however, an academic report published in 2001 in the USA about the effects of school uniforms on behaviour. The report found that “uniform policies may indirectly affect school environment and student outcomes by providing a visible and public symbol of commitment to school improvement and reform.” However, the report’s conclusion was “that student uniforms have no direct effect on substance use, behavioural problems, or attendance.” The report also found “a negative effect of uniforms on student academic achievement”.
I like school uniforms, but that is my opinion. It is not fact. The DfE has based its support for school uniform on opinion. It should not. It behoves any Government to back up its policies with evidence. It has failed to do so.