Parents fight private schools to allow girls to wear shorts

A Perth mother is advocating to change Western Australian private school's uniform policies so girls can wear shorts.

Lizz Clarke is part of a lobby group which is fighting against uniform policies, at Perth's private schools which insist on girls wearing skirts and dresses after Year 6 student Sofia Myhre won the right to wear shorts to her government school late last year.

The policy change affected government schools but not Perth's private institutions.

Most private schools in Western Australia don't allow girls to wear shorts or pants. Source: AAP / Stock image

"I'm bewildered to learn that some schools have no interest in my daughter attending if she doesn't wear a skirt or a dress," Ms Clarke told WA Today about the lack of change in private schools.

Now four months on, the Girls Uniform Agenda lobby group has decided to push for the policy to extend to WA's private schools.

Early research from the group indicates a difference between Perth's north and south private institutions, with schools located in the southern suburb of Fremantle mostly allowing girls to choose between skirts and shorts.

"Having worked around teens, I'm aware how difficult life at high school can be," Ms Clarke said. "I don't intend to make things worse by enforcing unfair uniform requirements that restrict my daughter's comfort, movement and sense of self.

"It's interesting, I would hope that most people can recognise that a policy change in private schools is in the best interests of the girls."

It's understood the decision on uniforms is typically up to individual principals but the Catholic Education Office hasn't specified whether it supports or disapproves of any changes, the publication reports.

"Catholic Education Western Australia schools are committed to providing environments that best support learning, development and wellbeing for all students," a spokesperson for the Catholic Education Office said in a statement.

"CEWA schools set uniform policy appropriate for their student body, in consultation with the school board, parents and carers."

A Facebook group is advocating for schoolgirls to have the choice whether to wear pants or a skirt. Source: Facebook / Girls Uniform Agenda

Ms Clarke labelled the discussion as outdated and said "many of the counter arguments for not addressing the disadvantage are minor obstacles or entrenched tradition".

Some people posted on social media saying they don't agree with changing a private school's policy.

"Maybe an outdated idea but at the end of the day, your daughter doesn't have to go to a private school, and the private school doesn't have to change its uniform policy," one person wrote.

"Send your kid to a public school if it bothers you so much. Is it just me or are mother’s getting more and more ridiculous?" Another said.

"If it’s a private school and you don’t agree with the uniform policy, send them to another school. It’s your choice to go private," one other person noted.