Student Dress Code
Thanks to the work of Girls’ Uniform Agenda’s VIC representative Simone Cariss, the VIC Department of Education and Training has changed its Student Dress Code policy.
The Victoria Student Dress Code states that all dress codes must meet human rights and anti-discrimination requirements.
Victoria Student Dress Code policy
The Victoria Student Dress Code policy can be found here:
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
Human Rights and Anti-discrimination requirements policy
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.
This page also describes the human rights and anti-discrimination requirements for schools.
Specifically it states: Schools and school councils are expected to develop, as far as practicable, dress code requirements that are similar for both sexes. Where options are available, they should be available to all students. In particular, all schools must allow girls the option of pants and shorts in their dress code.
The human rights and anti-discrimination requirements policy can be found here:
The developing and reviewing dress codes policy can be found here:
Letter for Education Department
If your school is not following the Department’s policy, or you think the policy is inadequate to ensure shorts and pants are made available to girls, write to the department so that they can take action.
Independent and Catholic Schools
For students attending independent and catholic schools in Victoria our understanding is the policy documents above are not enforceable. However independent and catholic schools are still required, by law, to abide by anti-discrimination and human rights legislation which have been outlined above.
It may also be of interest to review the below inquiry into school uniforms that the Victorian Government conducted in 2017.
The report 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: