“Wearing a unique outfit is positive”: in the United Kingdom, high school students grew up wearing uniform at school

Wilfried Devillers, special correspondent in London / Photo credit: OLI SCARFF / AFP
modified to

7:46 a.m., January 22, 2024

While the school uniform will be reintroduced in several French establishments from the next school year, it is already well established in Great Britain. Unique attire is obligatory in the majority of establishments. Europe 1 interviewed high school students in an establishment in central London.

It’s lunchtime for these British high school students. As they leave their all-boys establishment in central London, only their coats differentiate them. Because for everyone, it’s the same outfit: white shirt, purple tie, plain pants and the school crest embroidered on the jacket. The uniform, which will be reintroduced in France in several schools at the start of the next school year, is already well established on the other side of the Channel.

Anthony and his friends have been wearing the unique outfit since elementary school. Ismaïl sees it as an egalitarian measure. “Since everyone is dressed the same way, you don’t get confused because your clothes look shabby or, on the contrary, too chic. There’s no pressure in that regard, so I find that wearing a unique outfit, that’s positive.”

A cost estimated between 200 and 250 euros per year

In the United Kingdom, uniforms are compulsory in 98% of public secondary schools. For Ethan Shawn, 16, it is also a way to prepare for the world of work. “It’s a first step into the business world. It also depends on what you want to do afterwards. I would like to be a banker so obviously, I have to be used to wearing classic, formal clothes “.

Once home, the teenager still abandons the uniform for jeans and a pair of sneakers. Redouane would like to simply do without it. “I think we deserve the freedom to choose what we want to wear. The school limits that. Students should have the right to express themselves with one style or another.” All outfits for the week cost between 200 and 250 euros per year.

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