School girls across England are being told to wear trousers instead of skirts in efforts to be more gender neutral.
According to the Sunday Times, uniform policies show at least 40 secondary schools in England have now stopped girls from wearing skirts as part of the school uniform.
A number of other schools are consulting on a ban, the newspaper found.
Last year, Priory School in Lewes, East Sussex ordered girls to wear trousers instead of skirts in an effort to be gender-neutral for transgender pupils.
The school made the change after it found pupils asking why boys and girls had to wear different clothes.
‘Another issue was that we have a small but increasing number of transgender students and therefore having the same uniform is important for them,’ Headteacher Tony Smith said in September.
One of the schools consulting on a gender-neutral uniform of ‘trousers only’ is Crawshaw Academy, near Leeds, while Copleston High School, in Ipswich, has placed skirts on a list of unacceptable items alongside ‘skinny jeans and facial piercings’.
In total in Ispwich, eight secondary schools prohibit skirts, which means the majority of girls there attend ‘trouser-only’ schools.
While at Woodhey High School, in Bury, skirts were labelled ‘undignified and embarrassing’ when girls sit on the floor for assembly and in drama classes.
Philips High School in Whitefield, Greater Manchester, is to introduce a ban on skirts in favour of trousers this September.
Diane Burdaky’s daughter Annabelle is in Year 8 at the school but she claims parents were never consulted about the changes.
The mum-of-three said: ‘A few months ago my daughter came home and said they were changing the school uniform and that girls were no longer going to be allowed to wear skirts.
‘It was the first I’d heard of it.
‘It’s good to give girls the option of wearing a skirt or trousers, but I don’t understand the need for a total ban. I think it’s crackers.’
The government is preparing to launch its consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004, which could make it easier for people to change their gender.
A consultation paper is expected on Tuesday.
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