Parents’ fury as school axes summer dresses in ‘gender neutral’ move

A Lincolnshire primary has sparked outrage after it removed the “option to wear a red gingham dress” in a bid to move towards “gender-neutral” uniforms. Parents of children at Huttoft Primary and Nursery School, in the Lincolnshire village near Sutton on Sea, have fumed after they were told summer dresses were no longer an option and “now been removed from the policy”.

The email, sent on Friday afternoon and seen by the Telegraph, said: “This change has been brought in due to our pupil voice to make our Uniform Policy gender neutral.”

However, the primary quickly followed up and said the email sent was an “error in communication” and the summer dress ban was only meant to “assist parents in keeping costs down”.

The school has been accused of “backtracking” by a mother whose three-year-old daughter attends the nursery school, adding that parents are angry and the email received fierce criticism especially after being shared online.

She told the broadsheet: “A lot of the parents I have spoken to are quite outraged by it.

“It’s a load of rubbish. You don’t send out something and then say it was in error because you realise the backlash that you’re receiving from it.”

Amid the outraged parents and backlash on social media, Huttoft School released a statement on Saturday and apologised “for any upset or confusion”.

It wrote on its website: “We made an error in a communication we sent out to parents yesterday, and we’d like to correct it.

“The gingham dress has been removed from our school uniform policy.

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“The main reason for this change is to reduce costs for parents and carers who buy the gingham dress as an additional school uniform item for the summer term.

“We also listened to our pupils, some of whom questioned the need for a summer dress. We should not have included any reference to ‘gender neutral’ in our communication.

According to the Telegraph, Huttoft School’s uniform policy, which was adopted in February and attached to Friday’s email, said: “Please note the most recent change – to assist parents in keeping costs down we have withdrawn the option for summer gingham dresses”.

The document also says: “We have made provision for non–gendered uniform to ensure we are mindful of protected characteristics.”

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