Photo: Tim & Annette
School uniforms are very uncommon in the Netherlands. In fact the only place I have seen them since I moved here in 2000 is the British School in the Netherlands based in Voorschoten. An OFT report cites that 79% of junior schools in Britain has a compulsory school uniform, when you get to secondary school this rises to 98%. In short, if you go to school in Britain there is a good chance you'll be wearing a school uniform.
If you go to school in the Netherlands you will almost definitely not be required to don a uniform in the colours of your school. I started doing a little digging to determine why my sons will all go through a school system without seeing a school uniform. It turns out it's easier to find out why British schools advocate the wearing of uniforms than why Dutch schools don't.
|Michael Gove - a uniform believer|
Photo: London Evening Standard
There are more benefits of a school uniform according to supporters: A uniform helps pupils identify with their school and feel like a part of the school community; it evokes pride in pupils; it instils discipline; it dissolves social equalities (as clothes do not differ between rich and poor students), hence reducing bullying.
Some argue that uniforms in schools are just a way of exerting power and control over kids. Heads of schools which have abolished their school uniform say that teachers spent too much time ensuring that children adhered to school uniform rules - time that could be better spent teaching them.
American academic (school uniforms are gaining popularity in the US), David Brunsma, concluded after eight years of research that school uniforms make no difference whatsoever to the standard of schools or their results.
Love them or loath them, the fact is that I grew up wearing a school uniform and somewhere in the photo archives of my parents there is a picture of me on my first day of school, proudly toting my brand new uniform. It's a British thing, but one as an expat parent I will never experience.
What will/did you never experience when your kids start(ed) school because you moved overseas? Is it something you miss(ed) or glad you don't/ didn't have to go through?