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Cardiff school pupils vote for smarter uniform

There’s a reason the students at Cathays High School in Cardiff seem to be standing just that little bit taller this year.

They are enjoying wearing a smart new uniform – which they had asked for themselves.

Some 70 per cent of the 850 boys and girls at the comprehensive voted in favour of changing the uniform this year from sweatshirts and polo shirts to blazers and ties.

Meanwhile the Bishop of Llandaff school, which is just up the road, lavished £20,000 on installing nightclub-style gender-neutral loos.

Change: Pupils at Cathay High School in their new blazers and ties

The move was branded pointless because the pupils have shunned the concept, with girls tending to use one side and boys the other.

Another secondary, Priory School in Lewes, East Sussex, was also criticised this week for banning girls from wearing skirts as part of gender-neutral uniform rules.

But Cathays has been praised for bringing in smarter attire. Yesterday Stuart Davies, the school’s deputy headmaster, said the aim of the dark blue blazers and yellow-striped ties was to encourage better behaviour and learning.

‘Over the last couple of years there has been a groundswell of opinion of pupils wanting a more grown up, professional look,’ he said.

‘The governors gave permission, so we looked at costing and colours.

‘They all look fantastic.

‘It changes their perception of themselves. Students are positive and pleased, and people are complimenting them. I think it will have a positive impact on behaviour and learning and give them a sense of pride and see themselves as bringing the community together.

‘In their old uniform some said they felt like primary school pupils.’

Old: The pupils in their previous uniform of polo shirts and sweatshirts

Old: The pupils in their previous uniform of polo shirts and sweatshirts

Cathays, which opened in 1931 and caters for pupils aged 11 to 18, was voted ‘good’ by Estyn, the Welsh equivalent of Ofsted, and last year recorded its best ever A-level results. The blazers were also backed by 80 per cent of parents and 90 per cent of staff.

Parent Bridget Taylor wrote on Twitter: ‘Love the new uniforms.’ Another said: ‘Great to see all the pupils in their smart new uniforms.’

In contrast, Ian Beesley, whose child attends the Bishop of Llandaff school, said of the new toilets there: ‘This work has cost an absolute fortune that could’ve funded the children’s education in a far more beneficial way.’

Social media user Lara Sophia Lamb suggested many girls would find the arrangement awkward as they start puberty and may ‘want some privacy in quite an emotional time of their lives’.

She added: ‘Not something I would have wanted to “share” with males.’ Schools have faced mounting pressure to cater to transgender pupils.

At least 80 are thought to have brought in gender-neutral uniforms last year.

After the backlash, Marc Belli, headmaster of Bishop of Llandaff school, issued a statement claiming the toilets were built for ‘practical reasons’ rather than political.