Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET)

Student Dress Code

The Victoria Student Dress Code states that all dress codes must meet human rights and anti-discrimination requirements.

The Victoria Student Dress Code policy can be found here:

http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/principals/spag/management/Pages/dresscode.aspx

This page includes links to a number of important and related policies, including developing and reviewing dress codes, dress code legislation, and human rights and anti-discrimination requirements.

Specifically, the developing and reviewing dress codes policy states that:

As the dress code takes precedence over a student’s individual preferences the school council should consider if the dress code:

  • ensures that any gender specific requirements accord with school community standards and anti-discrimination legislation
  • is reasonable by contemporary standards and avoids unnecessarily intruding on students’ rights in matters of personal appearance
  • is suitable to the role of a student and the tasks and functions they perform
  • takes into account health and safety issues
  • allows students to dress comfortably in all weather conditions
  • supports informal or incidental physical activity such as lunchtime sport, walking or cycling to school

The human rights and anti-discrimination requirements policy states that student dress codes must comply with human rights and anti-discrimination legislation by:

  • treating students equally
  • not treating students differently because of personal characteristics
  • upholding human rights requirements.

It can be argued that refusing to allow girls to wear shorts and long pants to school contravenes each of these three points, and each of the six points listed further above.

The human rights and anti-discrimination requirements policy can be found here:

http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/principals/spag/management/Pages/humanrights.aspx

The developing and reviewing dress codes policy can be found here:

http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/principals/spag/management/Pages/developing.aspx

In 2007, the Victorian Government conducted an inquiry into Dress Codes in schools, and found gender differences in dress codes and school uniform policies to be an area of risk for schools with respect to discrimination. The final report generated by the inquiry stated that “school councils are… advised to formulate, as far as practicable, dress code requirements that are similar for both sexes. In general, where options are to be available, they should be available to both boys and girls” (p. 48).

Read the full report here:

http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/57th-parliament/etc/inquiries/article/405