Benowa State School is a co-educational public primary school at the Gold Coast in Queensland. Our vision is to Empower Lifelong Learners who are self-directed and passionate. We highly value curiosity, creativity, integrity and authenticity in our students, and we understand the importance of having collaborative partnerships with students’ families to support and develop student wellbeing.
In order for this vision to be fulfilled, aspects of our curriculum require the need for all students to engage in high activity, use of floor spaces and outdoor learning areas. At times our school uniform, particularly for girls, interferes with their capacity to fully engage in these activities with dignity and success.
As a result of this, and in line with the Department of Education School Dress Code Guidelines and the Anti-Discrimination Act, the Principal engaged in consultation with the school leadership team and the P&C to change the implementation of our School Dress Code to more accurately reflect the legislation. The action we took was to enact more diligently the ‘gender neutral’ uniform.
Before this change, Benowa’s policy required girls to wear a dress on all other days they did not engage in Physical Education (at which time they were required to wear the School Sports Uniform). Under our new guidelines for wearing the school uniform, students can now choose to wear either of the two uniforms on any day of their choosing as long as they wear their sports uniform for sporting programs.
The exciting outcome was that this did not require ANY changes to the actual uniform options. It simply meant that families had flexibility with the range of school uniform options to wear a gender neutral uniform each day should they wish to do so.
The impact on sales and choices families make on uniform purchases is yet to be fully determined. The true celebration of this decision to modify the implementation of the school dress code offers a genuine flexibility to all families – from traditional families who still wish to access the formal dress to a more modern day approach of wearing the sports uniform each day where shorts enable a greater access to the curriculum demands on primary school students – especially girls. It also offers families more affordable options should finances be a burden on the household budget as the sports uniform is not as highly priced as other items made available.