By the end of the 1700s, most schools in Britain had a policy of allowing children to choose between wearing a uniform or a practice uniform. The reasons for adopting the practice uniform were to emphasize that schooling was not just for the upper classes but was also open to all, to emphasize the importance of discipline, and to provide a sense of belonging.
The benefits of school uniforms were numerous. They included reducing the incidence of school violence and improving the self-image of both pupils and teachers.
Advice on wearing a uniform Despite the introduction of a uniform policy, some parents are still unsure about the importance of wearing a uniform. They argue that as long as their children are wearing make-up they are still ‘wearing a uniform’. They also state that they object to being made to feel uncomfortable in a certain way and do not want to be subjected to the situation where their driver’s license is taken away.
The police and schools themselves have admitted that there are disadvantages involved in requiring uniforms. These are that casual attire can be seen as trendy and that pupils and teachers tend to ‘opt-out of wearing formal uniforms for various reasons. These include:
The school could argue that there is a constant make-up factor which is a reason why teachers require make-up artillerists to wield wands because make-up does in fact render the pupils less visible. They must, however, be conscious of Mr. Kent’s wishes as Jimmy’s marks are vital as he cannot be identified as a prospective groomed subject – particularly if he is sent to live away from school – and the temptation may well be to send him to live with one of the children with developments.
Jimmy’s teacher comments add to the strategy of the school: ‘I would have decided it was more practical for Jimmy not to wear his uniform but I would have had problems if I did not.
Furthermore, wearing a uniform – a turncoat – also means that pupils are no longer allowed to talk, play, laugh, or even whistle (to be considerable) – because that is the language of the day.
Jimmy’s demotion from regular class to special teaching also means that he will receive better support and have a sense of belonging to the curriculum and team. It also means that he can be given more time to work on his core subjects – rather than just spending a few more minutes in the busy spring break periods by the swimming pool! And importantly it means that Jimmy can be regarded as a more special and valuable pupil by the staff who will then commit time and energy to watch him achieve in lessons and clamber to success.
Jimmy’s teachers are also very familiar with his challenges and have several tools with which to help him achieve success in school. This includes verbal directives, changes in work, and consideration of alternative learning routes. So, although his challenges are clear and he is aware of them, it is difficult for him as a 12-year-old to fully commit to the teaching in the first grade, especially with the knowledge that he is expected to provide 25% of class time. This is why he is doing so well in the senior infant class.
Early years special needs schools In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the availability of Early years special needs schools (ENS). These special schools are designed to provide very young children with the necessary support and care so that they can enjoy successful school lives and development for many years into the schooling system.
One of the most significant changes that teachers in the Early years of special education have to offer their pupils is to help them to become more independent and to manage their own time. This involves a novel concept in comparison with those pupils who have developed their skills in the traditional way: the teachers encourage the children to make up their own mind, and tackle problems, and manage their time by means of their own goals. They demonstrate to the child that they can be decisive and that their decisions matter. Pupils who have been taught this way (whether or not they have been mainstreamed yet) frequently reject strategies where the teacher is the judge and jury of who should or shouldn’t be accepted etc because they have been taught that they can succeed on their own terms.
It is important for parents to assess the services which are available at the schools they are considering choosing for their children. A brief Google search will reveal that there are a variety of services that parents can use to assess the learning and social skills of their child before they formalize their offer to sell their child into school. But don’t forget to ask plenty of questions about how the school will monitor and evaluate the success of the service!