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School drops old uniform in favour of activewear

Kimberley Seedy, August 25, 2020 6:45PM Whitehorse Leader

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Kingswood College students Will, Kai and Ava in the school's new activewear. media_cameraKingswood College students Will, Kai and Ava in the school's new activewear.

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A Victorian non-government school has decided to ditch* its traditional school uniform, hoping new activewear will encourage students to take part in more physical activity.

In an Australian school first, Box Hill’s Kingswood College has partnered with sportswear company 2XU to create a new activewear school wardrobe, evolving from its traditional blazer and old school tie.

Comprising* breathable polo shirts, compression tights and lightweight pants and shorts, a range of combinations will be phased in* from the start of the 2021 school year.

School principal Elisabeth Lenders said the uniform change had been in the works for several years.

“We decided that in 2018-19 we really wanted to have a good look at the future of learning and education,” she said.

“The research is clear: we know what sets up young people to live happy, healthy lives and it sits around their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing and their social connection.”

Ms Lenders said World Health Organisation research revealed 90 per cent of young Australians and New Zealanders were not getting the minimum daily levels of activity they needed in order to lead a healthy life.

She said discussions with other education leaders then centred on what were the barriers to that and one response was ‘Well we just can’t fit it into the timetable’.”

“The time has come for us to say it’s not about the timetable dictating what we can do, we need to dictate what the timetable enables us to do,” Ms Lenders said.

Elementary School Pupils Running In Playground media_cameraUniforms aren’t always the best clothes for physical activity and in many schools, girls’ and boys’ uniforms are different.

As well as the new activewear uniform, she said the school would adjust timetables to make sure there were opportunities for students to take part in physical activity every day.

“Of course it’s a moment in time (with the coronavirus pandemic) where people are wearing comfy activewear all the time, and have realised not only can we work from home but also we can get a lot of good things done while we’re comfortable at the same time,” she said.

Ms Lenders said in the past, a uniform was about all looking the same but in the 21st century it was important for students to be able to choose clothes that suited their body shape and that they liked.

CM Choosing the right school feature - generic high school students media_cameraIn the past, a uniform was a way for all students to look the same.

She said there would not be a girls’ uniform and a boys’ uniform, but a range of activewear options for all students to choose from.

Ms Lenders said for more formal occasions such as concerts and celebration nights, students would be asked to dress in more formal wear, using items from their own wardrobes.

She said the school had conducted an online survey about the uniform change and had received great support from parents.

Tara, mother of Ava in Year 7 and Kai in Year 8, said it was a bold and progressive* move from the school.

Ms Lenders said the school was also involved in the Global Citizens Project, using the United Nations sustainable development goals as their context*.

“These are the challenges of our time, and we want young people to be engaged with them, we want them to be thinking about what it is we’re going to do to address these key global challenges,” she said.

“It is bigger than just throwing out the blazer or abandoning a uniform, it’s about what the role of education is about.

“And for me it’s helping young people to live a happy, healthy productive life.”

GLOSSARY

  • ditched: given up
  • comprising: made up of
  • phased in: brought in gradually
  • progressive: forward thinking
  • context: the setting something happens in

EXTRA READING

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. What is this story about? Why is it news?
  2. What did we learn during COVID-19 disruptions about work and clothes?
  3. Can girls wear the same items as boys?
  4. Did the school ask the parents or students what they thought? If so, how?
  5. Who is Tara?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Active School Wear
Think about the benefits versus the detriments of wearing activewear as a school uniform rather than a traditional uniform of pants, skirts, dresses or shirts.

Work with a partner to fill out the table below:

Benefits versus detriments table template media_cameraBenefits versus detriments table template

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social

2. Extension
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that students aged 6 years and over need at least an hour of physical activity a day. At least 3 days of the week this exercise needs to be quite vigorous. Do you think you meet this activity requirement? What sports or activities do you do that helps you meet this guideline?

If you are not getting this amount of exercise, what are some simple changes you could make to schedule in some more time for physical activity (such as riding your bike to school, etc.)

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical education

VCOP ACTIVITY
Connective Collection
After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many connectives as you can find in pink. Discuss if these are being used as conjunctions, or to join ideas and create flow.

HAVE YOUR SAY: What changes would you make to your school uniform?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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