As a school administrator, you already know that many schools, both private and public, have adopted uniform programs. If your school is not among them, there are plenty of solid reasons why you should consider mandating a uniform for your school. While the idea may not sound exciting at first, many parents and even students appreciate the benefits of school uniforms.
While reasons such as modesty and removing inappropriate clothing from the classroom are often cited in the media, uniforms actually reinforce student confidence and foster a positive, learning-driven environment.
However, perhaps the best reason to adopt a school uniform program is that the clothing helps build school spirit.
Once you decide to mandate a uniform at your school, you will need to agree on expectations. It is important to take your time and consult with staff, parents and students to find out what will work best for your school. Some points to consider include:
* Will all students be required to wear uniforms?
* What styles of clothing will be acceptable?
* What colors are required?
* Will the school’s logo be required?
Because it can sometimes be challenging to adapt to new expectations, it is important be transparent about the pros and cons of school uniform while also explaining why you believe a uniform is the right choice for your school. Always listen to differing points of view.
Before you set the rules for your uniform, reach out to other schools and study their uniform policies, and look to educational support organizations for guidance. The more information you can gather beforehand, the easier you will find rolling out your program.
Selecting Uniform Apparel
Your school’s guiding principles, location and climate will influence your choice of clothing, from whether you require polos or dress shirts to skirt and short lengths.
Also, don’t forget PE apparel and staff wear. Some school uniform suppliers also offer adaptive clothing for students with additional needs, designed with easy-dressing features and sensory-friendly fabrics.
Finding the Right Supplier
Although some schools simply establish a uniform policy and allow parents to purchase clothing at a retailer of their choice, there are distinct benefits to working directly with a specialized school uniform provider.
When selecting your provider, you should take into account whether they have experience and brand-name recognition among parents. Investigate whether the supplier shares similar values as your school. From a practical standpoint, find out which suppliers offer services that make it easier for your administrators and families to get what they need when they need it.
Does the supplier always keep your uniform styles and colors in stock—and is there any inventory liability to your school? Do they offer a personal account manager for your school and a custom online store so parents can order at any time? Does the company make it easy for families to return and replace defective products?
Perhaps the most crucial question is how the quality of a supplier’s clothing and logo application compares to the competition. Remember, lower initial cost rarely implies good quality. Parents value “hand-me-down” quality and long-lasting, easy-care fabrics that may cost a little more up front. In the long term, higher quality apparel truly pays for itself.
Rolling Out Your Uniform
Mandating a uniform is a big change for your school, and it’s important to be prepared well ahead of the big day. In addition to working with a trusted supplier who can ensure every student has the required uniform, get your school ready by keeping everyone well informed.
However you choose to implement your school uniform program, remember to make the process engaging, inclusive and ultimately enjoyable for everyone involved, from administrators and parents to the students themselves. That way, your school will experience a smooth and successful transition to uniform.
This article is courtesy of Lands’ End School, www.landsend.com/school. Lands’ End School is one of the leading suppliers of school uniforms in North America, providing high-quality apparel for students from preschool to high school to more than 5,000 schools.