Court Fields pupils can expect to be wearing blazers, shirts and ties to school later this year. New headteacher Rachel Bennett is convinced that a change to formal uniform will help achieve the improvements required by Ofsted.
“In my previous school we changed from sweatshirts to blazers and I’ll never forget the impact it had,” said Ms Bennett. “Boys turn to young men, they walk tall, they look purposeful.
“Of course it doesn’t make you more intelligent if you wear a suit to work but a formal uniform does have an impact on how students, parents and the community feel about the school.”
At present the plan is still only a proposal that has just gone out to parents and then needs to be approved by Court Fields governors later this term. But Ms Bennett says: “it’s absolutely right for this school, at this time to move to a formal uniform.”
No decisions have yet been taken on colour, badge or supplier but the school has provided detailed figures on the letter to parents to convince them that the change is worth a modest increase in uniform cost.
In Wellington there is another reason for a change, the often unspoken comparisons with a major independent school. “A Year 7 pupil told me that when they’re in the High St with Wellington School students, they can feel like second class-citizens,” added Ms Bennett.
“That should never happen and what we need to do here is raise their expectations. Our students are perfectly capable and they need to feel that.”
Here is the detail of Ms Bennett’s letter to Court Fields parents:
“Ofsted recently stated that Court Fields School ‘requires improvement’ so it is clear that we need to make the necessary changes that will make a difference to student outcomes.
“To support this goal and embed our values and high expectations we are proposing to change Court Fields School uniform from polo shirts and sweatshirts to formal blazers, shirts and ties. We believe that a more formal uniform will:
instil a sense of pride amongst students in their appearance developing self esteem and confidence
assist in developing student pride in representing Court Fields School
command respect and strong social bonds amongst students heightening their sense of belonging and value
create a strong and cohesive school identity
create a positive image of Court Fields School within our local community & prepare students for the workplace
“We are starting a consultation process with students, parents and staff over the next 3 weeks. We are inviting you as parents to make representation in writing to me by 24th January 2014. At this stage we are seeking a simple yes or no response with reasons to the proposal:
“‘From September 2014 Court Fields School uniform will be formal blazers, shirts and ties’
“Governors will make the final decision on 6th February 2014 after hearing a presentation from myself and considering representations from students, parents and staff.
“If the decision supports a formal uniform, I will work with our student peer parliament and our parent forum members to decide on blazer/tie style and colours and write a new school uniform policy. I anticipate this would be ready by May 2014 in plenty of time before implementation in September 2014.”