Students protest over clip-on ties

Katharine Lady Berkeley's School and inset the clip-on tie causing controversy(8531828)

Katharine Lady Berkeley's School and inset the clip-on tie causing controversy(8531828)

First published in News
Last updated

A SCHOOL’s decision that students must wear clip-on ties rather than ordinary ones in the coming year has been met with opposition from some students.

The governors and headteacher of Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School (KLB) in Wotton-under-Edge have been criticised for making the decision without consultation of parents or pupils.

The year groups were informed in assemblies at the beginning of July before the break up for the summer holidays, apparently with some booing followed.

The move is a bid to give students a smarter and more cohesive appearance from September but one student , who asked to not be named, said the situation had created a rift between students and their school, which they said was regarded as a great school by parents and students alike.

“I don't know or haven't met anybody who supports the ties,” they said.

“Pupils feel let down by their school after not having a say in this. They feel these changes were forced upon them.

“For such a big change in place why didn't the school consult us as students undergoing these changes?”

A Facebook group called “KLB school get it wrong with clip on ties” has been setup to raise awareness of the issue and has so far generated almost 300 likes.

The KLB pupil added: “A student voice is something I believe is paramount in any school community and following the announcement many people felt disappointed in not having a say."

The pupils are believed to face penalties if they do not wear the new regulation uniform but despite this some are thought to be planning to wear the old ties instead.

It is understood the new ties have already been bought by the school, which feature a new design to represent the student's house.

Headteacher Andrew Harris said the school worked very hard to ensure students look smart, a feature he said that was appreciated by parents and visitors.

“The motive behind this change is purely to help the students to look smart and to avoid them feeling pressurised to wear their tie in a particular way just to ‘fit in’ with their peer group,” he said.

“While compliance with our uniform is excellent, there are some issues with the way in which it is worn, in particular the ties.

“In spite of many strategies to achieve the correct wearing of ties, there is still considerable variation and many students wear the tie poorly.”

Mr Harris said the move was not a safety issue, with very few, if any, issues with ties being abused in the past and the decision was made after looking at other schools following the practise.

He added that since the decision was made he had received comment from just three parents and one, unnamed, written comment from a student.

“Therefore the clear evidence is that this change is not viewed negatively by any more than a very small minority of the school community,” he said.

Comments (7)

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12:47pm Thu 24 Jul 14

JBlogs says...

I'm not sure at all that Mr Harris can say there is clear evidence that this is a minority of his pupils that feel this way as 300 isn't a minority Mr Harris.
Its a shame that this opportunity wasn't taken by this Headteacher to acknowledge how his pupils are clearly feeling. If we all thought they looked smart before, as he has said, then why change? There doesn't seem to be a very strong basis here for supporting the decision. Well done to the kids for voicing their opinion
I'm not sure at all that Mr Harris can say there is clear evidence that this is a minority of his pupils that feel this way as 300 isn't a minority Mr Harris. Its a shame that this opportunity wasn't taken by this Headteacher to acknowledge how his pupils are clearly feeling. If we all thought they looked smart before, as he has said, then why change? There doesn't seem to be a very strong basis here for supporting the decision. Well done to the kids for voicing their opinion JBlogs
  • Score: 0

12:57pm Thu 24 Jul 14

ofpiercethelowsirens says...

Actually, these ties are more dangerous and are a definate safety hazard. As you need to have your top button done up for these ties to take effect, people can now pull on the back of peoples collars causing the pupil to be strangled. The reason that both pupils and parents do not speak up about this issue is because they have fear that it is a useless speech. The school did not contact any parents other than a letter sent out after the ties were bought. The uninvolvement of the schools community has upset a lot more people than it may seem and Mr.Harris needs to sort this out and involve the views of others before making a massive change like this.
Actually, these ties are more dangerous and are a definate safety hazard. As you need to have your top button done up for these ties to take effect, people can now pull on the back of peoples collars causing the pupil to be strangled. The reason that both pupils and parents do not speak up about this issue is because they have fear that it is a useless speech. The school did not contact any parents other than a letter sent out after the ties were bought. The uninvolvement of the schools community has upset a lot more people than it may seem and Mr.Harris needs to sort this out and involve the views of others before making a massive change like this. ofpiercethelowsirens
  • Score: -1

5:17pm Thu 24 Jul 14

perfectscones says...

KLB is a good school which my children attend, however, I cannot help but feel frustrated by the actions of the Governors and Headteacher in making this change without seeking out the views of the pupils that attend there and parents too. I have looked at the Facebook page and the interesting link to the DfE guidance which recommends that schools should seek everyone's views and so it seems that they knew it wouldn't be a popular decision and so didn't bother. The response from the Headteacher is disappointing- blaming students feeling pressurised into tying their ties in a certain way seems ridiculous and falls far short of an apology or, at the very least, some taking responsibility and acknowledging the views of his pupils (and parents, as I for one would never have agreed to this clip on tie). It is also a mistake to say that there is clear evidence that this is a minority as 300 people aren't a minority . What a shame that a bit of communication wasn't felt to be important enough. Citing the fact that there have only been a handful of complaints points to the fact the pupils and parents wouldn't have been listened to and what's the point anyway when they went ahead and bought them.
Disgruntled and disappointed parent.
KLB is a good school which my children attend, however, I cannot help but feel frustrated by the actions of the Governors and Headteacher in making this change without seeking out the views of the pupils that attend there and parents too. I have looked at the Facebook page and the interesting link to the DfE guidance which recommends that schools should seek everyone's views and so it seems that they knew it wouldn't be a popular decision and so didn't bother. The response from the Headteacher is disappointing- blaming students feeling pressurised into tying their ties in a certain way seems ridiculous and falls far short of an apology or, at the very least, some taking responsibility and acknowledging the views of his pupils (and parents, as I for one would never have agreed to this clip on tie). It is also a mistake to say that there is clear evidence that this is a minority as 300 people aren't a minority . What a shame that a bit of communication wasn't felt to be important enough. Citing the fact that there have only been a handful of complaints points to the fact the pupils and parents wouldn't have been listened to and what's the point anyway when they went ahead and bought them. Disgruntled and disappointed parent. perfectscones
  • Score: 6

8:19pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Greyhoundstogo says...

It is evident from the comments of the head that it was a forgone conclusion regarding these ties - and he never had any intention of entering into debate with the parents or students. They are nearly as bad as ties with elastic - how demeaning is that for young adults? The number of "likes" show strength of feeling - but guess people are anxious about possible reprisals - what does that teach about democracy? Posted by greyhoundstogo
It is evident from the comments of the head that it was a forgone conclusion regarding these ties - and he never had any intention of entering into debate with the parents or students. They are nearly as bad as ties with elastic - how demeaning is that for young adults? The number of "likes" show strength of feeling - but guess people are anxious about possible reprisals - what does that teach about democracy? Posted by greyhoundstogo Greyhoundstogo
  • Score: 2

2:27pm Fri 25 Jul 14

leavelle says...

What rubbish from one individual on the point of safety !
In the security industry we wear clip on ties as a point of safety as they quick release when pulled !
I have never experienced anyone grabbing someone from behind by a collar that is buttoned up as there is no grip.
If you wear a normal Tie I have always buttoned the top button to be smart !
Useless Speech, what a obtuse comment
What rubbish from one individual on the point of safety ! In the security industry we wear clip on ties as a point of safety as they quick release when pulled ! I have never experienced anyone grabbing someone from behind by a collar that is buttoned up as there is no grip. If you wear a normal Tie I have always buttoned the top button to be smart ! Useless Speech, what a obtuse comment leavelle
  • Score: 0

4:27pm Sat 26 Jul 14

localism2014 says...

This is a rather synthetic fuss really - now given further ludicrous coverage today in The Times! Perhaps parents and pupils need to think about the issues facing kids in far less fortunate parts of the world where good education is at a premium rather than whinging about uniform or, Heaven forfend, 'not being consulted'. Jesus wept. As far as safety is concerned, considering that police officers have to wear clip on ties to prevent villains attempting to strangle them, I hardly think the poor downtrodden pupils of KLB will be in any danger. A more fundamental issue is the ridiculous nature of the school's uniform; blazers and any kind of tie seem so outdated. Unless a school spends an inordinate amount of time policing it, archaic uniforms of that type are usually worn badly. Pupils in far less successful schools than Klb look much smarter because they wear polo shirts and jumpers which are practical and impossible to subvert.
This is a rather synthetic fuss really - now given further ludicrous coverage today in The Times! Perhaps parents and pupils need to think about the issues facing kids in far less fortunate parts of the world where good education is at a premium rather than whinging about uniform or, Heaven forfend, 'not being consulted'. Jesus wept. As far as safety is concerned, considering that police officers have to wear clip on ties to prevent villains attempting to strangle them, I hardly think the poor downtrodden pupils of KLB will be in any danger. A more fundamental issue is the ridiculous nature of the school's uniform; blazers and any kind of tie seem so outdated. Unless a school spends an inordinate amount of time policing it, archaic uniforms of that type are usually worn badly. Pupils in far less successful schools than Klb look much smarter because they wear polo shirts and jumpers which are practical and impossible to subvert. localism2014
  • Score: 2

5:24pm Sat 26 Jul 14

LoganHadaway says...

A better method would be to discipline those who are improperly wearing their ties in the first place. The length of a tie should be in between the lowest button of a shirt and the trouser waist/belt buckle. Ensuring top buttons are done up also goes a long way, mainly because students will tighten their ties to keep an unbuttoned collar hidden - it may be spotted by the keenest of eyes but, overall, the image stays intact.
However, does KLB have the resources for micro-managing their dress code? Do teachers really have time to enforce such discipline? The clip-on tie may not be the most popular solution, but the pupils have only themselves to blame.

Perhaps KLB should hold out for one term, allowing a period with an ultimatum at the end, giving the pupils time to understand that wearing a tie in the correct way is a part of academic tradition that they should be proud of. After all, if they implement this, how are these kids going to know the difference between a half windsor knot and a full one?!

Failing that, clip-on bow ties would be a fantastic solution.
A better method would be to discipline those who are improperly wearing their ties in the first place. The length of a tie should be in between the lowest button of a shirt and the trouser waist/belt buckle. Ensuring top buttons are done up also goes a long way, mainly because students will tighten their ties to keep an unbuttoned collar hidden - it may be spotted by the keenest of eyes but, overall, the image stays intact. However, does KLB have the resources for micro-managing their dress code? Do teachers really have time to enforce such discipline? The clip-on tie may not be the most popular solution, but the pupils have only themselves to blame. Perhaps KLB should hold out for one term, allowing a period with an ultimatum at the end, giving the pupils time to understand that wearing a tie in the correct way is a part of academic tradition that they should be proud of. After all, if they implement this, how are these kids going to know the difference between a half windsor knot and a full one?! Failing that, clip-on bow ties would be a fantastic solution. LoganHadaway
  • Score: 4

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