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Hessle High School

WEEK 34 - Friday 18 June 2021

School uniform is one of the most contentious elements of day-to-day life in schools. Some students love it, most are fairly ambivalent about it and some - it is fair to say - loathe it with a passion.  

I went to a comprehensive school in Hull and, midway through my time at the school, a new headteacher arrived who decided that the students needed to express their individuality and so he promptly scrapped the school uniform. As a result, at first, he was immensely popular with the students, although not with the staff. Gradually though, most students realised, myself very much included, that the day to day worry about what to wear was incredibly wearisome. A badly chosen pair of jeans could lead to weeks’ worth of abuse from those with better dress sense and that was before ‘trainer envy’ and my longing for a pair of Adidas Kick that my parents couldn’t afford and yet which everyone else seemed to be wearing. Such was the distraction caused by non-uniform, that standards quickly dropped and the school went into a steep decline thereafter, badly affecting the life chances of many hundreds of young people. The moral of the story? Uniform matters, and you don’t mess around with it, unless it is to make it better!

My story may be an extreme one but we are acutely aware of the importance of maintaining high uniform standards. And the same goes for jewellery, make up and hair styles and colours. These things matter and, once they are allowed to slip, other things do too.  

A few years ago, after taking over as Headteacher, I undertook a review of the cost of our school uniform. I wanted to be sure that it was affordable for all of your students and families and that there was sufficient choice around the core - i.e. shirts, trousers, skirts etc. - that allowed people to buy from a supermarket or other provider, if they wished. At that time, I was content that the uniform was smart and affordable.

We have undertaken another review of uniform and, next week, I will inform you of a couple of minor changes that we are making to footwear and skirts which we believe will make the uniform even more consistent and smart, as well as potentially more affordable for some families. Please look out for a letter which should land in the middle of the week.

We are also currently putting the finishing touches to our summer school offer. This will comprise two weeks’ worth of activities.

In week one (w/c 26 July), we will be inviting Year 6 pupils into school for a broad mix of activities designed to prepare them for the start of Secondary School in September. We have sent parents of those children a survey link to seek expressions of interest.

Our second week of activities will take place during w/c 9 August and will focus on some students in other year groups. Rather than inviting large cohorts into school, this will be led by individual class teachers running ‘catch up’ learning sessions for specific cohorts of students. Shortly, we will contact the students who we will be inviting into school for those sessions.

I must stress that attendance to these sessions is voluntary. Whilst I would hope that families would consider attending, I am aware that all of our school community - students and staff - need a good break after a tumultuous year. If your child is invited to attend, please discuss this together and make a decision that you feel is right for your family.

In the meantime, take care and continue to stay safe.

Take care and stay safe

Mr V Groak