New high school uniform at Urangan State High School
To all students and in particular to all Urangan State High School parents.
For more than a month I have tried on several occasions to enquire about the proposed uniform changes at USHS, however the school has been reluctant to respond relevantly and has only provided the following limited information: USHS is contemplating a $25-30 polo shirt, and the consultation period will be the two weeks between 26 August and 9 September.
Reference in the USHS Newsletter of 13 August speaks of "the proposed uniforms", underlining that at this issue is indeed merely a proposal.
Department policies stipulate that reviewing the dress code must be undertaken "in consultation with students, parents and P&C;".
"Consultation" means: "to seek information / advice from someone".
So, now is the time for USHS parents and students to provide your information and your advice to the school concerning these proposed changes - before 9 September.
USHS is making the following three avenues available:
- Feedback forms available at the school to complete and place in a box.
- Survey Monkey feedback form on the school website.
- On the school's Facebook page.
What advice do you have for the school?
My advice is that if a change must take place, the least financially distressing option must be taken, which is a plain polo shirt and a $2 iron-on logo.
This option will enable all parents to choose exactly what is right for them, be it a $2-5 polo shirt available in several places in town, or a $30-50 brand name polo shirt.
This method is already in effect at local state schools.
Such an option would show respect; respect for our community, respect for all families and the times we are living in, and respect for the fact that USHS is a state school, not a private school.
My advice could also be to make no changes at all and for the school to realise that any uniform change is a massive and completely unnecessary extra expense to impose on families already living on the brink of poverty in one of the country's financially hardest hit areas.
Despite a phase-in period, it is clear that any change is a financial burden, also illustrated through USHS's message in the May newsletter: "...the uniform shop will not be taking anymore second-hand polo shirts for resale".
The consequence of depriving families of a second-hand choice both from the school based uniform shop and local op shops will linger for at least one year longer than end of a phase-in period and will hit hardest the already hardest hit families.
Make sure to address your advice to the principal and not the P&C.
According to the Education Act, the principal is responsible for the dress code, not the P&C.
The P&C may merely subsequently endorse a dress code.
I realise that the hardest-hit families will be recipients of the annual $820 Schoolkids Bonus.
But if someone out there thinks that there is anything left of the $820 for school uniforms once all the book, laptop and activity fees have been paid, well then you have no kids in a state school and don't know the realities.
For some parents there may also be a completely different solution: to request a Dress Code Exemption Card based on your Human Rights to be the social and moral educator of your child, as per www.bwhites9.wix.com/noschooluniforms.
The exemption card is already issued at USHS.
Most USHS parents believe that upon enrolment they have signed an agreement to "abide by the school's uniform code".
However, this USHS wording is contradictory to Department Policies, as the parental signature is non-binding and merely to verify receipt of information.
Upon complaints, USHS has had to change this wording to a legal version, which newcomers will now be presented with.
Provide your advice to the school within the timeframe, let your voices be heard and let it be you who shape your children's school.
You may contact me through: firstname.lastname@example.org.