Saturday, May 17, 2008

Now Michael Gove wants to tell teachers what to wear

The year began with Michael Gove telling us that a Tory government would encourage state schools to introduce the blazer as a key element of their dress code. The Daily Mail reported that they would not be forced to do so, but Ofsted inspectors would mark schools which have blazers as the "gold standard".

Now Mr Gove has turned his attention to what teachers wear. Wednesday's issue of The Times reported:

Schools will be expected to smarten up their appearance under a Tory government. Out will go jeans and trainers, untucked baggy shirts, crop tops and biker leathers.

This time, however, it is not the pupils who will be under the spotlight, it is the teachers.

Michael Gove, the Shadow Schools minister, today said that the Conservatives would give full backing to schools that introduced smart dress codes for staff in order to boost their standing among pupils, parents and the wider community.
No doubt this is meant to appeal to Tory voters who like tradition, but in reality there is little tradition of teachers dressing smartly. The traditional dress for teachers was the academic gown, which was designed precisely to distance education from the world where a good business suit matters. Less grand teachers wore a tweed jacket with leather patches and a worried expression.

Whatever you think of this, it emphasises that there is little prospect of a Tory government interfering any less in our lives than the current one does.


asquith said...

As usual, they're too afraid of the Daily Hate Mail to do anything remotely liberal. But I think there are millions of people out there who are liberal, even if they don't know it, and will support a thoroughgoing resistance to this tendency.

Anonymous said...

Gordon Brown missed a lot when he was trying to set up his big tent. Isn't Michael Gove a perfect New Labour Schools Minister?

dreamingspire said...

We have been there before with an attempt to make teachers double as smartness role models, but can't remember when. I have sympathy with going for smart as opposed to scruffy, neat and tidy as opposed to sloppy, but not if it means trying to impose a dress code banning jeans and trainers etc etc. Knowing very good teachers and ex teachers from many parts of the education spectrum, I dare not even raise this report of the Tory idea with them - it would upset them too much.

Niles said...

Surely the point of academic robes - much like cassocks - is that you put them over normal clothes and they transform you, regardless of what you were wearing before. They conceal untidyness.