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Hessle High School

WEEK 36 - Friday 1 July 2022

It is said that Barack Obama, when President of the USA, only ever wore a grey or a blue suit. He would explain the reason by saying that, “I have too many other decisions to make so I don't want to have to make decisions about what I eat or what I wear.”

I don’t have to make anything like as many (nor important) decisions as the ex-President but I can understand the concept that is often called ‘decision fatigue’; there are days when  I sit in lots of meetings where it falls to me to make a choice between two or more options (which sometimes seem absolutely identical to me!) and then when I get home the last thing I want to do is choose what to eat, or what to do with the children. That’s why I will eat whatever is put in front of me and do whatever the children ask me to do.  

And ‘decision fatigue’ is one of the reasons why I am so committed to school uniform. Bear with me, while I explain.  

A bit like Obama, I only have a handful of suits for work, I always wear a white shirt and have perhaps a dozen ties to choose from. It takes me less than five minutes to get ready for work in the morning. Meanwhile, my wife - who is Head of Languages at our school - has to choose between a seemingly endless wardrobe of options, giving consideration to the weather, how much walking she will have to do and - improbably for me to understand - what other people might also be wearing. I don’t know how she does it each morning but I would not wish that kind of distraction on anyone, certainly not our students, especially when making the ‘wrong’ clothing choice could make them feel uncomfortable in front of their peers. Which is why we insist on school uniform, properly worn without adornments or jewellery.  

It is often suggested that a school uniform restricts a child’s ability to express themselves. This is absolute nonsense. Yesterday evening when I left school, there were over a hundred of our students preparing to take part in ‘Battle of the Bands’ and ‘Primary Performing Arts Showcase’ both amazing experiences and events in which students are able to express themselves artistically, creatively - and in what they choose to wear!

Next week, we have a coachful of students heading to London for a Theatre trip - they will visit several theatres, see great performances and enjoy the sights of the Capital city. They will express their personalities through their interactions and their friendships - not in how they are dressed!

We also have - every weekday - sports teams representing our school, with great passion and success. One of our boys - a Year 9 student - has recently been signed up to schoolboy terms with Hull Kingston Rovers after just a few weeks of playing rugby league. He follows a steady stream of ex-students that have even gone onto play the sport professionally, demonstrating how it is also possible to express yourself through sporting prowess and effort.

None of the aforementioned students need to spend any time each day thinking about what to wear; instead they can focus on learning and pursuing their interests in music, drama and sport. The way it should be.

It is tragic when the local media (and it happens across the country) tries to shame schools with headlines such as, “My daughter was sent home for wearing jeans” - usually followed by a comment from a parent along the lines of, ‘how does wearing jeans affect her learning?’  Whenever a headline such as this lands on Hull Live, I always check the comments section at the end which reliably responds in favour of the school. This always reassures me that the general view is in favour of high standards and school uniform.

At Hessle High, we enjoy very high levels of compliance with school uniform and we know that you will support us with this now and in the future. Please encourage your child to continue with these high standards in the remaining three weeks of term and also into next year. We are making no changes to uniform next year but will be expecting all students to wear it correctly all of the time.

Finally, this evening is the Year 11 Prom - our opportunity to help our students celebrate their time in school before they move onto pastures new, albeit half of them will be returning to our Sixth Form. It will be great to see them relax and celebrate and I thank the parents of those that are coming for your support as well for making it such a successful event. See you later amongst the limousines!

And thank you all for your continued support.  

Have a lovely weekend.

Mr Groak

Headteacher