Parents have expressed dismay after a Catholic primary school in London announced that it will introduce a “gender neutral” uniform policy that will allow boys to wear skirts from September.
St Anthony’s Catholic primary school in East Dulwich announced the new policy in its weekly newsletter, saying that it will provide a single uniform list from which boys and girls can choose which items to wear.
Jane Day, the headteacher, said: “I am pleased to announce that the governors have approved the introduction of a gender neutral uniform which will be introduced in September.
“Rather than having a separate uniform for girls and boys, one uniform list will be produced and girls and boys can choose whether they wear skirts, pinafores, shorts or trousers. There is no change to the uniform which will remain grey, green, yellow and white.”
The blog Listening in the Desert said the announcement had left parents “stunned and upset as it goes completely against the teachings of the Catholic Church”. The author, Clare Short, said that parents “were not consulted or informed whatsoever of the changes to the uniform”.
At least 120 schools now have a gender neutral uniform policy, according to the gay rights group Educate & Celebrate. “In our experience, primary schools are adopting [gender neutral uniforms] faster than secondary schools,” Dr Elly Barnes, the group’s founder, said.
Pope Francis has condemned “gender ideology” many times. In October he said: “It is one thing for a person to have this tendency” but that it was very different “to teach this in schools in order to change mentalities. This I call ideological colonisation.”
The Catholic Herald has contacted the Archdiocese of Southwark for comment.