Shorts and pants introduced into Gippsland Grammar girls' uniform

Gippsland Grammars new uniform will have a new gender-neutral option, with girls able to choose between a dress or shorts in summer and a skirt or pants in winter. (The girls shorts depicted are
not the final design).
Gippsland Grammars new uniform will have a new gender-neutral option, with girls able to choose between a dress or shorts in summer and a skirt or pants in winter. (The girls shorts depicted are not the final design).

THE introduction of shorts and pants to Gippsland Grammar's girls uniform will have some of its female students cartwheeling with joy - without restriction.

Girls will have the option of wearing a new stylish summer shirt with shorts during terms one and four, and pants through terms two and three.

This means kicking the footy, stretching, sitting cross-legged, clambering across play equipment - unhindered and without embarrassment or inconveniences.

Boys will also be able to wear the new collared, muted green pinstriped shirt, which bears the school's crest on its chest pocket.

Former students are reportedly envious of the new shirts, which are not required to be tucked in, and are worn without ties.

Females will be spared the horror of squeezing into boys' shorts and slacks, with a more flattering cut for the new girls' shorts (not pictured above as they are still in the design phase), while the pants are high-waisted with an elasticised band.

The pants will address the obvious impracticalities of having a long heavy skirt, on cold, wet winter days.

Slacks will also shave off precious minutes for most students while getting ready in the morning, when compared to wrangling the tights that currently accompany the woollen skirt.

The winter skirt and summer dress will still be available for students who prefer the traditional option, with the introduction of a pleat in the shoulders and an adjustable strap for a new and improved summer dress.

Principal David Baker said he was rapt with the new uniforms.

"It's contemporary, much more comfortable for learning, and we're providing a gender neutral option for all students," he said.

"It's all about choice - student agency."

He said the timing of the new, tie-free uniform also fitted in with a broader issue - a warming climate.

"In the last six years, if you were to map out ties-off days, they're increasing," Mr Baker said.

"Every time we hit 28 degrees, it's ties off, and I reckon in my first couple of years here, it would've happened once or twice in summer.

"Now, nearly the entire summer they're not wearing their ties."

Deputy head of school Kate Ray said the school wasn't phasing out the dress and the skirt - instead, providing students with an option.

"The girls don't have to wear the shirt and the shorts or the pants, but it's a choice for them, and the boys have also got something out of it, because they don't have to wear a tie in summer [with the new uniform]," she said.

"We did surveys with all of the parents and the students and the staff last year, and got their feedback - the pros and cons,

"We felt that even though not everyone would be 100 per cent behind it, it was worth making a change.

"I think in the junior schools particularly, the shorts and pants will both be really popular."

Ms Ray said one of the issues the school examined when considering a new uniform was the ethics behind uniform companies, and landed on Dobsons, after it discovered the company recycled old uniforms, sending them to a processing plant in Brisbane to turn into new fabric.

So far, the feedback from the announcement has been mainly positive, with a few students still staggering in disbelief they no longer have to tuck their shirts in.

"It's come up a lot over a number of years, and we just felt it was time to look into it a little bit more," Ms Ray said.

"I think it's the right time."

After the state government declared public schools must allow female students a shorts or pants option in late 2017, private schools across the state have increasingly followed suit - providing students with more choice, comfort and freedom to undertake movement and activity uninhibited.

As with most schools, Gippsland Grammar's uniform policy states all students enter class as equals as far as image and dress are concerned; their individuality comes from their attitude, character, spirit and involvement.