Junior primary girls at a Melbourne private school will no longer be allowed to wear skirts and dresses as part of a major uniform shake-up.
Female students in kindergarten, prep and year one at Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School in Essendon will now be required to wear pants and shorts in a move designed to encourage more physical activity.
Principal Elisabeth Rhodes told Yahoo7 News the all girls school is determined help their female students in the younger years become as active as male students.
“Typically girls at a younger age have less motor coordination and less strength in their upper bodies than their male counterparts,” she said.
“We received the feedback from the girls that they are worried about their dress going above their heads and that it inhibits their movements.”
Ms Rhodes said she has noticed the girls were more active and willing to hurl themselves on the monkey bars without restrictions or concerns when they weren’t concerned about what they were wearing.
“We wanted them to be wearing something that allows them to transition seamlessly from the classroom into the playground.”
Female students in years 2 to 12 will be given access to the “academic wardrobe” that includes skirts, dresses, pants, shorts, shirts, vests and jumpers.
“Girls can choose on any given day the items that best reflects their personality, daily needs and identity,” a post on the school’s website states.
New state policy to allow all girls to wear trousers
The school’s decision comes one year after Victoria introduced new policies that require every school to offer students the option of wearing long pants or shorts.
Sydney mother Melissa Mibus last year put in a “conscientious objection” at John Palmer Public School in northwest Sydney so her two daughters could wear long pants during winter.
After successfully taking the matter to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, she then pushed for all our Australia’s schools to offer gender-neutral uniforms.
Education Minister Rob Stokes echoed her calls, saying too many uniform policies weren’t up to scratch.
“It’s bloody ridiculous. Girls should have the option to wear shorts or pants as uniform to schools if they want to. It’s just common sense,” he said.