Seniors don ties after policy change

Back to uniform for Girls' High Year 13s

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 12:00 29/01/2013
Palmerston North Girls' High
DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ

MUFTI NO MORE: Palmerston North Girls’ High School Year 13 students will wear a uniform this year after a change in policy at the school.

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It's back to uniform for Palmerston North Girls' High senior pupils, who will no longer be allowed to wear mufti in their final year of school.

For the first time since Year 13 was decreed a uniform-free zone, every Palmerston North Girls' High pupil returning to school tomorrow for the first day of term one will be in uniform.

Last year's Year 12 students got their new senior school uniform in 2012 and they will continue wearing it as Year 13s in 2013.

The decision to get rid of the special mufti entitlement was not taken lightly, principal Melba Scott said.

Three years of consultation with pupils led to the final ensemble, which includes a pin-striped blazer, a navy-blue pleated skirt, a white blouse, and a red tie.

"We feel that the students have stepped up and it has had a really positive effect on their work and coming to school, they are poised and mature," Mrs Scott said.

"They have had a lot of compliments from the community," she said.

The tie had proven a surprise fashion statement among the student population, Ms Scott said.

Consultation with pupils had revealed the mufti approach had become "problematic".

Girls cited expense, the time taken deciding what to wear in the mornings, and said that they found the fashion parade aspect of wearing mufti at school distracting and prone to competition.

Mrs Scott said the pupils consulted had displayed a very "conservative" approach to the kind of uniform they felt best represented the senior school.

"I think it is reflective of the growth of the young women coming into the school as girls, and then graduating in [a different] uniform as young women," she said.

Comments on Facebook revealed a mixed reaction to the uniform change.

"I reckon it's awesome. No pressure what to wear and they all look the same so they can just focus on schooling," one person commented.

"Fantastic idea - they have the rest of their life to wear mufti. Now is the time to represent their school and look good," wrote another.

But some condemned a perceived shift back to conformity.

"Is looking different to others a bad thing? One that distracts from schooling? Laughable. Nothing quite like having the rights to dress yourself removed, huh."

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- Manawatu Standard

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