Charles Richardson writes:


I stirred up some controversy
a couple of months ago when I attacked school uniforms as a political
fetish of conservative politicians, and suggested they had less to do
with rational policy than with the “sadistic pleasure of making people
wear uncomfortable clothes that they don’t like.”

Now comes a new angle on the story from Britain: as reported in yesterday’s Guardian,
a report has found that publicly-funded church schools have been using
expensive school uniforms as a tool to keep out children from poorer
families.

School uniforms are just one of a number of financial barriers that
parents face, such as fees for school excursions and music lessons. But
these other things can at least be said to contribute to educational
value. Uniform requirements, however, can be pure waste: “Some schools
choose to recommend, say John Lewis rather than Tesco as the preferred
uniform supplier, or choose a school uniform with a distinctive blazer
rather than a stock colour sweatshirt or pullover.”

An earlier report drew
attention to cost inflation in government schools, saying that
“Children from low income families risk being isolated and bullied” as
a result. But with private schools, those who can’t pay can be turned
away altogether, keeping them as a middle class preserve.

Does anyone know if any Australian schools are trying the same trick?